Svalbard reindeer

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Svalbard reindeer
Svalbardrein pho.jpg
Svalbard reindeer
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Capreolinae
Genus: Rangifer
Species: R. tarandus
Subspecies: R. t. platyrhynchus
Trinomial name
Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus

The Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) is a reindeer subspecies found on the Svalbard archipelago of Norway. They are the smallest subspecies of reindeer. Males average 65-90 kg in weight, females 53-70 kg,[1] while for reindeer generally body mass is 159–182 kg for males and 80–120 kg for females.[2]

The subspecies is endemic to the Svalbard islands, where it has lived for at least 5,000 years, and become well adapted to the harsh climate, being found on nearly all non-glaciated areas of the archipelago. It is the most northern living herbivore mammal in the world. [1][3][4]

They remain short-legged and have a relatively small, rounded, head. [1] Their fur is also lighter in colour and thicker during winter. The thickness of the coat contributes to the short-legged appearance and makes even starved animals appear fat in the winter. The males develop large antlers during the period from April to July and shed the velvet during August-September. Males lose their antlers in early winter. Females develop antlers starting in June and they are usually retained for a whole year.[1]

A Svalbard reindeer running in winter
Svalbard reindeer hunting exhibition at the Polar Museum in Tromsø, Norway


  1. ^ a b c d Aanes, R. (2007).Svalbard reindeer. Norwegian Polar Institute.
  2. ^ Caribou at the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. Retrieved on 16 September 2011.
  3. ^ Aasheim, Stein P. (2008). Norges nasjonalparker: Svalbard (in Norwegian). Oslo: Gyldendal. pp. 34–36. ISBN 978-82-05-37128-6. 
  4. ^ Lauritzen, Per Roger, ed. (2009). "Svalbardrein, Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus Vrolik". Norsk Fjelleksikon (in Norwegian). Friluftsforlaget. ISBN 978-82-91-49547-7.