Reindeer were first introduced to
South Georgia in 1909 by Carl Anton Larsen, the man who first
started whaling from the island. They were introduced in order to
provide fresh meat for the whalers without needing to be farmed.
They were introduced on three occasions between 1909 and 1925 in two
separate areas of the island.
Until 1980, they were
regularly hunted and their numbers kept in check, there have
been anecdotal reports of them also being hunted by the
garrison of British Forces after 1980.
Their future is now under
discussion. They obviously have a large impact on the native
flora and fauna as they are a non-native species. So far
their spread has been limited by glaciers which form natural
barriers, they occupy two distinct peninsulas on the
northern side of the island. These glaciers like most in the world have been
retreating in recent years due to a warming climate and
there will come a time when they no longer form an effective
When I was in Antarctica with
the British Antarctic Survey from 1985-1987, the pemmican
sledging rations we were supplied with came from the
reindeer herd on South Georgia.
Read more about the reindeer and management of them on
These are pictures from
a trip to Antarctica in the summer of 2010 - 2011 for the purpose of
researching former whaling stations and companies by Ulf Gustafsson
of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.
copyright Ulf Gustafsson.