Hatanga reindeer herders sound alarm

Hatanga reindeer herders sound alarm

June 02, 2021

The tundra people propose to create a municipal reindeer herding enterprise.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The development of domestic reindeer husbandry and traditional nature management was raised at a meeting dedicated to the Days of the dolgan language and culture, which were held in Hatanga at the initiative of the Taimyr Indigenous Minorities Association with the support of Nornickel.

Hatanga’s reindeer herders experience these difficulties every year

In addition to residents of the rural settlement of Khatanga, the meeting was attended by the deputy of the Legislative Assembly of the Krasnoyarsk Territory Valery Vengo, the Commissioner for the Rights of the Indigenous Minorities of the Territory Semyon Palchin, the Deputy Head of the Agency for the Development of Northern Territories and Support of the Indigenous Minorities of the Territory Vyacheslav Amosov, representatives of the administration of the Taimyr Municipal District, deputies Taimyr District Council, as well as leaders and members of the Association of Indigenous Minorities of the Peninsula.

The main issue that requires a prompt solution concerns domestic reindeer husbandry in Hatanga. From year to year, tundra people talk about painful problems at the local level. But no decisions have been made for all the time. Reindeer herders turned to the association for help, and it was its leaders who initiated the events that took place in Hatanga.

Anfisa Nikiforova, the first vice-president of the regional Association of Indigenous Minorities of the North, said that the situation with domestic reindeer breeding in Hatanga is a case of emergency. Over the past two years, the reindeer population has decreased by half – from 6.5 thousand heads to 3.5 thousand.

“At the meeting, the chairman of the reindeer-breeding cooperative Oleg Uksusnikov announced that this year five hundred reindeer were killed by wolves”, says the vice-president of the Association. “The situation is deplorable, if this continues, in two years the deer will be gone. The funds allocated for the removal of wolves from their natural habitat are not enough”.

Hatanga’s reindeer herders experience these and other difficulties every year. The remoteness from the regional center, the high cost of transportation and food, the low rate of subsidizing compensation payments per head of deer do not allow reindeer breeders to fully lead a nomadic lifestyle, says Anfisa Nikiforova.

According to her, the existing support measure for Hatanga – 260 rubles per deer head – is very low. Out of despair, reindeer herders sell their reindeer to neighboring Yakutia, to the Municipal Unitary Reindeer Herding and Fishing Enterprise.

“They pay wages to the reindeer herders, about 40 thousand rubles a month. A huge difference – 8 thousand and 40 thousand – Anfisa Nikiforova says. “Funding comes from two sources: from the federal and republican budgets. Realizing that there are more support measures in Yakutia, our people go there with their deer. Although there is also a reindeer husbandry in Hatanga, as well as in Yakutia. A deliberate and collective approach to solving the issue is needed here”.

At the meeting, the tundra people also complained about the lack of incentive for young people to go to reindeer herding. Today, in the three villages of Taimyr – Syndassko, Popigai and Novorybnaya – the industry employs mainly retirees.

The tundra people, they say in the association, have only one hope – to apply directly to the governor of the region for support. Otherwise, the primordially traditional branch of reindeer husbandry in the Hatanga tundra may disappear altogether.

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Text: Victor Tsaryov

June 02, 2021

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