What Santa and His Team of Reindeer Are Devastated About This Christmas
Childhood Reimagined and the Threat to Christmas
Imagine a world without Santa and his reindeer. I can’t, can you?
Once a year, something extraordinary happens across the entire globe, Christmas arrives. Everyone knows the story of how Santa and his reindeer team fly across the sky, delivering presents to all the boys and girls.
If you are lucky, you can see Santa bundled in red, decked with bells and garland along with his red sleigh. There is Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer at the front of the team, with Dasher and Prancer following on his lead. If you listen carefully at night, you can hear Santa’s laughter across the sky.
As a child, I grew up waiting to see if Santa climbed down my chimney. Although I never saw him, I always left a carrot next to the tree for the Reindeer.
I knew they got hungry because they had the most important job of all. Pulling Santa and all the presents across the world. Without the Reindeer, I wouldn’t get a gift. Even Santa needs some help!
This year though, Santa and his Reindeer are facing a new threat as Christmastime approaches. A threat being monitored by many people, including those in Alaska. If you thought the Grinch who stole Christmas was Santa’s most significant problem? You were wrong. What could threaten these animals and the North Pole they call home? The U.S Government under the Trump Administration may be to blame.
Politics Don’t Belong With Christmas
In 2020, the Trump Administration asked gas and oil firms to bid on land where the reindeer live and migrate yearly. That is 1.6 million acres of coastal tundra the reindeer call home. This coastal tundra is located in the state of Alaska and is known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The Trump Administration is also looking to redefine how a national park and endangered species can be protected. Why is this threat from Trumps’ Administration to the reindeer and Santa so scary? It is because the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to the last wild reindeer herd in America. This refuge is home to many species outside of reindeer: Polar bears, foxes, whales, and migratory birds. This is only to name a few, which call the Arctic home.
The Last Wild Herd
Fun fact, did you know that Reindeer are also known as caribou? And that caribou used to live all over the Northern U.S at one point in history? There was a time when these species thrived in many northern U.S States until 2018.
In 2018, the last wild caribou herd living in Idaho relocated back to British Columbia, Canada.
The caribou herds’ final migration to Canada was due to deforestation, parasites, and large deer populations. These elements affected the caribou’s ability to survive and successfully have birthing seasons. Humans changed how this species lived or died. The result was daunting. Since 2018, there are no wild caribou in the Lower 48.
They are all extinct.
This is why the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is so important to protect. The only remaining U.S Caribou herd is the Porcupine Herd found in Alaska. Most children and people know the Porcupine Herd to be Santa’s reindeer and think of this land as the North Pole.
Native Alaskans and the Culture they have with Reindeer
What would Cindy-Lou-Ho say? She might tell the Trump Administration to look at how they impact the herd’s way of life.
You might ask yourself why I’m talking about caribou as if they are essential. The truth is, they are vital to the ecosystem. Caribou provide a source of life for the many predators that live in their territory as well. Caribou cull grass, keeping vegetation at a healthy level. They also move in migratory patterns that keep the ecosystem healthy.
Caribou play a significant role in Alaskan history too. Caribou have sustained a way of life and culture for the Native Alaskans for over 20,000 years. That’s a very long time if you think about it. Once, the native Alaskans were nomadic, following the herd throughout the year.
They used to live off the herd to sustain their own lives.
Now they live a more sedentary way of life, preferring to live in villages. Still, Native Alaskans aim to protect the caribou within the wildlife refuge to preserve their culture and way of life. You might find it reassuring to know that Alaskans are not against oil and gas development, though. They simply want to use alternate methods to source it, that are friendly towards the land.
Should the Trump Administration allow oil and gas companies permission to drill in Alaska, the caribou risk losing 34% of the land they live on.
That is 34% of the area that the caribou live in, where they give birth to their calves each spring. Allowing a new generation of caribou to be born and raised. It has also been proven that noise from drilling rigs push these animals to migrate out of range to fewer quality areas to live in.
How You Can Help Save the Reindeer
Here are a few ways that you can help caribou continue to deliver joy for many years to come.
Start a Facebook fundraiser! Instead of asking for presents this year, post on Facebook that you want your friends and family to donate to your cause. Ask them to share this post as well, so it is spread to a broader audience. You don’t have to do this only for Christmas. Any special occasion you have throughout the year is an excellent way to promote your charity cause.
Look at how you and your family use plastic. Did you know The Ocean Blue Project was set up to raise awareness for the world’s largest water mass? Protecting all major water sources also protects Alaska’s Reindeer. Pollution, no matter where it is, what it is, affects all living animals in some way.
Plastic plays a crucial role in animals losing their habitat when it is discarded. You can educate yourself on plastic goods and reusing single-use plastic when you go out to eat. The less plastic you use, the better off the environment is.
I challenge you to pick up trash when you see it on beaches, in the ocean, or in the rivers around where you live. All you have to do is pick up 3 for the sea to make a difference!
Naughty or Nice List this Christmas?
Making sure the spirit of Christmas lives on? That is the challenging part. Perhaps, it is because I am from Alaska that I am passionate about this state and the animals that call this place home, just as I do.
I know what it is to walk outside in the winter and see this caribou herd. Thousands of animals walking together as they move across the tundra. Knowing that out of those animals, the legend of Santa Claus and his Reindeer formed. Generations have been telling the story of Rudolph.
I want generations to continue to tell this story. To see that Santa lives in the North Pole, and these magical creatures survive as the years go on.
Millions of children hold the spirit of Christmas within their hearts. Nobody wants to be responsible for harming the spirit of Christmas and making Santa’s reindeer homeless. We need to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge because without it we will lose a little bit of Christmas cheer.
It’s as the Grinch so wisely said years ago: “Maybe Christmas… doesn’t come from a store? Maybe Christmas… perhaps means a little bit more!”
Author Bio: Jessica Monroe was born and raised in Anchorage Alaska. Having worked across multiple marketing fields when she graduated college in 2010, she has turned to a life of writing to convey stories that are meaningful to her and raise awareness for the planet.