In recent decades, industrial developments have expanded into reindeer ranges in the arctic and adjacent higher latitudes in search for energy, minerals, timber and other resources. Several wind turbine parks are under planning in reindeer ranges in Norway, and there is concern about possible negative effects on behaviour and area use of wild and semi-domestic reindeer. We tested whether a wind turbine and its rotor movement had any effect on area use, activity changes, vigilance bouts, and restless behaviour like running, walking, and standing for enclosed semi-domestic reindeer. Five different groups of reindeer in a 450 m long, 8 hectare, enclosure close to a wind turbine were manipulated by turning the wind turbine rotor on and off, and compared with reindeer in a control enclosure without wind turbine exposure. When exposed to rotor movement, two groups used locations farther from the wind turbine, two groups showed no shift, while one group moved closer to the wind turbine. The reindeer showed no systematic differences in the measured behaviour patterns between the two enclosures that could indicate fright or stress as a consequence of the wind turbine or rotor movement. We conclude that semi-domestic reindeer in an enclosure showed no negative behavioural response and little or no aversion towards a wind turbine. The possibility of rapid habituation in a small enclosure with continuous wind turbine exposure suggests that effects on area use should be studied at a larger scale or with free-ranging reindeer.
Effects of Wind Turbines on Area Use and Behaviour of Semi-Domestic Reindeer in Enclosures
Title: Effects of Wind Turbines on Area Use and Behaviour of Semi-Domestic Reindeer in Enclosures
January 01, 2004
Flydal, K.; Eftestol, S.; Reimers, E.; Colman, J. (2004). Effects of Wind Turbines on Area Use and Behaviour of Semi-Domestic Reindeer in Enclosures. Rangifer, 24(2), 55-66.