Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen have no doubt been keeping an eye on the thermometer this winter. Reindeer numbers have dropped nearly 60 percent in the last three decades due to climate change and habitat disturbance caused by humans, a study earlier this year found.
The decline of reindeer is a hot topic to more than just Santa and millions of children around the world.
“The caribou is central to the normal function of northern ecosystems,” Justina Ray, executive director of Wildlife Conservation Society-Canada, said in 2008. “With their huge range requirements and need for intact landscapes, these animals are serving as the litmus test for whether we will succeed in taking care of their needs in an area that is under intensifying pressure.”
Here are some reindeer facts that might surprise you.