Reindeer in Norway are getting castrated.
But don't worry. It's a good thing!
The Arctic region is warming at double the global rate and researchers studying the indigenous Sami peoples in the Arctic say castrated male reindeer can cope with climate change more effectively, as compared to reindeer who still have a pair.
Due to the Arctics varying temperatures, snow can melt and often refreeze to form thick ice over grazing pastures, but sterilized reindeer grow larger and can break through the ice easier.
Svein Mathiesen, coordinator of the University of the Arctic's Institute of Circumpolar Reindeer Husbandry said:
"To make herds more resilient in the future, we need to re-learn the traditional knowledge of castration."
What's the traditional knowledge of castration?
Sami reindeer herders typically BITE into the animal's testicles with their teeth!
Yuck! We'll pass.
This bitting technique is called "half-castration", which causes the animal to become sterile, but still produce some of the male hormone testosterone that promotes muscle growth.
Norway laws limit castration techniques to surgery with anesthetics, and no biting, so they are experimenting with a vaccine to recreate the effects of half-castration.
Castration aside, the survival of this species is important for these Arctic peeps because they rely on these creatures as their chief export as well as use them for practical uses like pulling large sleds.
[Image via AP Images.]
Tags: arctic, indigenous, norway, reindeer, research, species, surgery, testicles