For peopleFor thousands of years, reindeer and caribou have provided the basis of life for many cultures through meat and fat, skins for clothing, bedding and tents; sinew for sewing and antlers for tools.
- In Sweden, Finland and Russia, reindeer sustain herding communities that have depended on the animals for income, food and clothing for millenia.
- In Canada, caribou are an important source of food for northern communities, valued at over $100 million/year.
- When reindeer and caribou forage on vegetation in the summer, they change decomposition and nutrients of the tundra soil. Their droppings add nitrogen to the soil and water.
- Reindeer and caribou are an important prey species for many carnivores in the Arctic, including golden eagles, gray wolves, and polar bears
- Mosquitoes, blackflies and parasitic insects also rely on reindeer and caribou. Up to 10,000 mosquitoes can feed on a single wild reindeer.