What the tundra has in store for Russia's reindeer herders
Publisher: Harper's Magazine
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX22989
Noah Sneider visits the Yamal Peninsula in Russia where an outbreak of anthrax is killing herds of reindeer and engdangering the lives of the local people. Rising temperatures and a particularly hot summer have led scientists to conclude that climate change is the most credible explanation for its deadly return.
The Yamal Peninsula juts up from the northern edge of Russia like a thumb sticking out into the Kara Sea. A matrix of lakes and streams stretches across the barren surface, beneath which lie layers of permafrost that can reach deeper into the ground than Moscows tallest buildings rise into the sky. When the temperatures drop in the winter, the waterways freeze over and the sun recedes, leaving the region shrouded in darkness for twenty hours a day. During the summer, the ice splinters, and the tundra turns into a boggy, mosquito-infested maze.
The disease has triumphed once the blood begins spilling from your orifices. When the medical examiners or the veterinarians cut you open, they will find that your blood will have gone black, and that certain organs, particularly the spleen, have turned into masses of melting flesh.