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Arctic reindeer decline by over 50 per cent
Five herds in the Alaska-Canada region have declined by more than 90 per cent and show no sign of recovery.
Climate change identified as an overarching factor

Caribou and wild reindeer herds across the Arctic tundra have declined by more than 50 per cent in the past 20 years, a new report shows.

The latest Arctic Report Card, which has been published annually since 2006, indicates that Arctic air temperatures for the past five years have exceeded all records since 1900.

Out of 22 herds monitored, only two are at historic peak numbers and have not declined. Overall, migratory herds in circa-Arctic tundra regions have fallen by 56 per cent, from 4.7 million to 2.1 million in the past two decades.

Five herds in the Alaska-Canada region have declined by more than 90 per cent and show no sign of recovery. In Russia, declines are particularly apparent in the forest, mountain and island reindeer. Out of 19 herds assessed, 18 are rare, decreasing or threatened.

Researchers say the reasons for the declines are complex, and relate to a combination of forage availability, parasites, predation, hunting and climate change, which has been identified as an overarching factor.

Other emerging issues highlighted by the report include an expansion of harmful toxic algal blooms in the Arctic Ocean and an increase in micro plastic contamination, which is threatening marine life and seabirds.

Surface air temperatures in the Arctic continued to warm at twice the rate of the rest of the globe. And in 2018, Arctic sea ice remained younger, thinner and covered less area than in the past.

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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”