There are plenty of symbols that exist to represent the holiday season. A majority of them are works of fiction, but not all of them are. Case in point: Arctic reindeer. These large creatures are very much real, and are so cool to see both during and after the holidays. Unfortunately, however, it's going to be more unlikely to see one in person.
As revealed by BBC News this past Wednesday, the number of arctic reindeer that exist within the Arctic region has decreased by more than half in the past 20 or so years. This means that the Arctic has gone from housing roughly 5 million arctic reindeer to about 2.1 million now. Worse yet, herds of arctic reindeer are shrinking in and of themselves- some as much as 90 percent, according to those who study the mammal.
How can this be happening? Well, the main reason scientists say is climate change. The Arctic region continues to warm up, and it doesn't look as though it will be cooling down anytime soon. This also makes it harder to find food that arctic reindeer will eat. The fact that more insects come out in warmer weather—who will then bother arctic reindeer enough to keep them hiding elsewhere—makes matters worse. As does the increased rainfall in the Arctic, creating a thick layer of ice that the animals can't get through in order to eat.
With the news being so bleak, you may be wondering if there's anything you can do to keep the number of arctic reindeer from declining. The most obvious answer is to reduce carbon emissions and limit any global temperature increase. Other lesser-known causes include air temperature increase, plastic pollution, the thinning of sea ice, and toxic algae blooms. All of these factors have contributed to the declining population of arctic reindeer in one way or another.
So it's very much clear that humans will have to work hard together in order to reduce the effects of climate change. That way, Arctic reindeer can continue to flourish in the Arctic region. After all, no one wants them to become a fictional aspect of the holiday season.