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Influence of Indigenous Herding Activities on the Spatio-temporal Distribution of Reindeer during the Summer-Autumn Period: Case from Yamal, Russia

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The movement patterns of domestic reindeer depending on indigenous herding practices were studied using GPS collars. Data were collected during the summer-autumn of 2021 from the private Nenets herd in the South of Yamal Peninsula, Russia. We classified the types of herders’ influence on reindeer and estimated the densities of GPS fixes on pastures in four time periods in June – November. Based on ethnographic data and personal experience of migrating with Nenets, we hypothesized that a long-lasting stay of reindeer at a nomadic campsite is the significant indicator of human influence on a herd. Our GPS data registered that reindeer stayed at campsites significantly longer in July during the peak of insect harassment. This factor determined the maximum level of human control over the herd as shown by the limited distance of dispersal of reindeer from a campsite. By early August, the active phase of bloodsucking insects concludes as does active control of the herd, allowing a return to freer foraging and increased range of movement.

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Data Availability

The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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We are deeply grateful to the YNAO Government and our partners, the Nenets family of Efim Serotetto. We thank Karl Mertens for language improving and helpful comments.


This paper was prepared with the support of the Russian Science Foundation (project No. 22–24-00642).

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Correspondence to Alexandra Terekhina.

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Terekhina, A., Filippova, V., Volkovitskiy, A. et al. Influence of Indigenous Herding Activities on the Spatio-temporal Distribution of Reindeer during the Summer-Autumn Period: Case from Yamal, Russia. Hum Ecol 51, 21–34 (2023).

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