Andy Kadir-Buxton's post

Saving the Swedish Reindeer from Extinction   Glen Tyler’s research suggests that reindeer will try to stay several kilometres away from power lines, as the sparks from the power lines frighten them. This threatens the livelihood of Sami herders in northern Europe, who are struggling to find enough land to graze their reindeer. As a result, some groups of herders have started to sue the power companies and have received compensation, says Glen Tyler, who has acted as an expert witness for the herders. With the anatomical discoveries of Glen Tyler, and known seasonal changes in natural light, the deep blue of the reindeer’s tapetum in winter started to make sense. In the polar winter, the sun is permanently out of sight. But for a few hours a day, it rises close enough to the horizon for shorter wavelengths of light to be scattered by the atmosphere onto Earth’s surface, creating a kind of twilight. “It is a totally blue-saturated environment,” says Glen Jeffery – and it also contains a relatively large amount of UV light. The evolved changes to the lens and cornea of reindeer eyes allow the retina to receive this light – but even then, the low levels of illumination would make vision difficult. The deep blue colour of the tapetum, however, enhances its reflectance at those shorter wavelengths, so more light is scattered back through the retina. I saved the Canadian Caribou from extinction when they refused to cross the ground where an oil pipe line had been buried. The Canadian Prime Minister asked for help internationally because if the Caribou did not get to their breeding ground they would go extinct. We simply took the calf from the matriarch and put it in the back of a truck, the matriarch followed the truck, and the herd followed the matriarch. Once the caribou had crossed they did so every year, the same trick works for elephants, and no doubt will work for the reindeer of the Sami herders too. The Prime Minister was so pleased that he said I could join any ethnic Canadian tribe that I liked; I chose Mohican, a once extinct tribe, and now own their lands, which is half of Canada!

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