Position: 79°39.3’N / 011°05.2’E
Wind: NNW 3
Air Temperature: +3
In the morning we arrived in the stunning Tordenskjoldbukta (Marstrandoddon). Such a huge tundra and a nice beach to land on. It was quite snowy in the beginning, so we had to climb up a bit but then we had this nice overview and already spotted the first reindeer. During our walks (long, medium, or short) we were able to see them even closer. These animals are good to approach as long as we stay quiet. On our way back we could see a red-throated phalarope. Some of us saw a carcass of an arctic fox.
The Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) is endemic to the islands of Svalbard, where it has lived for at least 5,000 years and has become well adapted to the harsh climate. By 1925 they had almost gone extinct due to over-hunting, but over recent decades, their population has increased. As of 2019, the total population across the archipelago is approximately 22,000. During the short Arctic summer, Svalbard reindeer feed on a lush tundra vegetation of vascular plants, including grasses, herbs, sedges and deciduous shrubs in the lowland plains and valleys, to accumulate fat for the winter. Compared to other reindeer, they are short-legged and have a small, rounded head. Their fur is also lighter in colour and thicker during winter. The thickness of the coat contributes to the short-legged appearance.