St Matthew Island Reindeer

Darryl Li

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Summary on Rangifer tarandus

In 1944, 29 Reindeer were shipped alive to the U.S. Coast Guard on St. Matthews Island. The Coast Guard did not touch them, so they started to reproduce as years passed. In 1963, due to exponential growth the population reached to a max of 6,000. They were overgrazing the land and the population decreased soon after. In 1966, the population fell to 42 females and the reindeer became extinct. The island is now littered with reindeer bones.

Review Questions

What caused the Reindeer to become extinct?

What would happen today if another 29 reindeer arrive on the island?

Why did all of the males die before the females?