The effect of weather conditions on the practice of reindeer herders in the Sub-polar Urals

Liskevich N.A.(Tyumen, Russian Federation), Kopyltsova I.Yu., Porshunova L.S. (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russian Federation)


              page 156164


In this paper, we aim to determine the role of weather conditions in the annual industrial cycle of reindeer her-ders inhabiting the Sub-polar Urals. To this end, we analyse the knowledge accumulated by the local population about natural conditions significant for their production practices and weather forecasting. Main research sources consisted in the materials of field ethnographic studies conducted in 2018 across the territory of the rural settlement Saranpaul in the Berezovsky district of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug (Yugra). The data was collected using the method of semi-formalized interview with the residents of Saranpaul and the Shchekurya village. Among the informants were ancestral reindeer herders, specialists and heads of reindeer farms. Following the treatment and analysis of the obtained data, we have revealed seasonal difficulties concerned with grazing management, as well as changes in the dates and routes of herd migration. The practical knowledge and skills of reindeer herders are shown to include the ability of operational and long-term observation of the weather, experience in forecasting and evaluating changes in hydrometeorological conditions, the ability to determine the impact of climatic conditions on both the food supply, and the behaviour and health of deer. The experience of observing climatic conditions shows that the climate is becoming milder and that the number of anomalous weather phenomena is increasing. As a result of climate change and a number of other external factors, reindeer herders in the territory under study have been forced to change the timing and routes of herd migration. Thus, the winter grazing lands in the Sosva river valley have ceased to be used, and deer is being gazed in the mountains all year round.


Key words: Komi, Mansi, Nenets, Saranpaul reindeer company, signs of weather.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2018-43-4-156-164




N.A. Liskevich

Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS, Malygin st., 86, Tyumen, 625026, Russian Federation



I.Yu. Kopyltsova

Museum of Nature and Man, Mira st., 11, Khanty-Mansiysk, 628011, Russian Federation


L.S. Porshunova

Museum of Nature and Man, Mira st., 11, Khanty-Mansiysk, 628011, Russian Federation