3,000 reindeer are destroying the native plants of the island, whilst they’re also causing erosion and endangering king penguins and other local birds by destroying their habitat and nests.
16 Sami herdsmen from Norway have already arrived and are now preparing to round up every last reindeer and then kill them. It is expected to take two southern hemisphere summers to complete their destruction.
Reidar Anderson, who is overseeing the ordeal, stated, “The reindeer have become very destructive.” Whilst Arild Skedsom, of the WWF conservation group said regarding the cull, “it’s the kind of action that’s needed from time to time to correct previous mistakes.”
The herders have set up fences and a corral for the reindeer in order to seclude them, and they will then slaughter the animal with a bolt gunshot to the head. Any creature that is in a more secluded area though will be shot by rifle. After they complete their task, the reindeer meat will be transported to the Falkland Islands, where it will be sold to locals and visiting cruise ships.
Originally, 10 reindeer were brought to South Georgia in 1911 by Norwegians who were in need of fresh meat whilst they were on whaling missions in Antartica. This is the second animal eradication currently taking place on the island, as 200 million rats have infested the area and are eating rare seabirds’ eggs and chicks.