Residents of St. Paul in the Pribilof Islands are facing the possible loss of much reindeer meat and income from sales this summer. KUCB reports they fear the harsh winter has killed off as much as three-quarters of a herd that had more than 500 animals.
Phil Zavadil, the tribal government's ecosystem conservation director, hopes to find more in parts of the island that are inaccessible because of snow.
"The plan is, when the snow melts a little bit but before the grass starts to grow up, is to get out there are do a count of carcasses, to find out how many might actually have died."
In the meantime, Zavadil is contemplating what a large die-off might mean for management of the herd.
"When we have a lot of them, we encourage people to go out and hunt so we keep that herd size down, but now we might be on the opposite end of having to limit how much hunting goes on."