KUCB KIAL Unalaska Community Broadcasting

reindeer

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

For the last century, reindeer have roamed St. Paul Island without much oversight.

But now, the tribal government is stepping up its management style to boost subsistence options and the local economy.

Fleshy red reindeer quarters are spread across the tables of St. Paul’s tavern. Surrounding them are eager preteens, wielding knives and wearing plastic gloves.

“I don’t think we can cut through this bone," says one student. "It’s like that thick.”

“No! You don’t want to cut through the bone," a teacher responds. 

Courtesy Paul Melovidov

For a long time, scientists thought reindeer would be big losers in climate change, but the reindeer on St. Paul Island are challenging that theory.

As their main winter food source has disappeared, the St. Paul herd has changed its diet so they can survive on the remote island. This adaptation could have global implications for reindeer facing a warming climate.

If there’s one fact everyone agrees on about reindeer, it’s this: