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Longyearbyen Photos

From: Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Svalbard


Not far from Longyearbyen's abandoned coal conveyors, I found a group of Svalbard reindeer grazing near the town church.

Unlike their peers on the Norwegian and Swedish mainland, Svalbard reindeer live in small groups rather than herds. Through evolution or intelligent design (take your pick), these wild reindeer have adapted to the Arctic climate. They have deep chests, short legs, and broad feet that can be used to walk on snow and dig down to reach vegetation during the winter.

It isn't uncommon to see Svalbard reindeer nibbling lichens around town. They're also seen frequently in wilderness areas, where they wander freely without fear of natural predators. (Svalbard reindeer can outrun polar bears, the only species--other than homo sapiens--that might want to eat them.)

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