Reindeer are shrinking due to climate change - study

Reindeer in Norway (Getty)
Reindeer in Norway (Getty)

With Christmas so close, things are getting a bit worrying for the team at the North Pole.

A recent study by a Norwegian professor found reindeer are losing weight due to the changing temperatures in the Arctic - 7kg on average in the last decade.  

"Warmer summers are great for reindeer but winters are getting increasingly tough," says Steve Albon.

Less chilly winters mean once-reliable snows fall more often as rain that can freeze into a sheet of ice, making it harder for the herbivores to reach plants. Some reindeer starve and females often give birth to stunted young.

"So far we have more but smaller reindeer," Prof Albon said of reindeer on Svalbard, about 1,300 km from the North Pole.

The rising population also means more competition for scarce food in winter.

Arctic temperatures are rising faster than the world average amid a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

NZN / Newshub.