Indigenous Peoples and Knowledge
Livelihoods and Food Systems
Each winter, herders in Russia’s remote Nenets Autonomous District perform a reindeer cull. In the village of Krasnoye, about 2,000 km north of Moscow, the Nenets try to maintain their reindeer population at around 15,000-17,000 animals - that helps to preserve the region's fragile tundra, while at the same time providing enough food and income for the community. This year, more than 3,000 animals need to be culled. After corralling the animals into pens, they single out the weaker reindeer, whose meat will be sold to local processors for roughly $2.00 per kilogram. Hides will be used as clothes and as insulation for tents - a necessity for survival in a region where temperatures can dip below minus 40 degrees Celsius. The Nenets believe they have a unique social contract with the reindeer; the reindeer provide a way of life for them, and in exchange the Nenets care for the animals and protect them from predators, creating a symbiotic relationship that stretches back for centuries.
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