Reindeer Reflections

Lessons from an Ancient Culture

By (author): Jerry Haigh
Foreword by: Yann Martel
ISBN 9781771605151
Hardcover | Publication Date: October 1, 2021
Book Dimensions: 5.5 in. x 8.5 in.
304 Pages

About the Book

A fascinating look at the state and fate of caribou in North America, along with the millennia-long practice of reindeer herding in Finland, Russia, and Mongolia.

Within a few days of his arrival from Kenya to the western Canadian prairie city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, wildlife veterinarian Jerry Haigh discovered that caribou and reindeer are one and the same species: wild caribou in North America, wild reindeer in Eurasia.

In time, Jerry’s interest and research into this dynamic species grew beyond the borders of the northern boreal forests of North America, and he became fascinated with the way they were domesticated by ancient peoples and the folklore about the animals’ origins, including that of the modern Christmas story about Rudolph and his red nose.

Reindeer Reflections recounts Jerry Haigh’s travels and research in the arctic tundra and northern forests of North America, working among the Sami of Finland, and getting to know the nomadic Tsaatan herders in the foothills of the Sayan mountains of Mongolia. This decades-long journey to uncover how this unique species of deer has been woven into the lives of people scattered across the northern hemisphere examines the changes, mostly collapses, in population numbers of both wild and domestic caribou, along with the effects of climate change, poaching, and disease, from Alaska to Siberia, as well as the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of the people he has met along the way.

About the Author(s)

Dr. Jerry Haigh was born in Kenya and educated in Glasgow as a veterinarian. Upon graduation in Scotland, he moved back to Africa, where he lived and worked for over ten years. During his time in Africa he met his wife, Dr. Joanne van de Riet, with whom he has two children, Karen and Charles. In 1975 Jerry and his family moved from Kenya to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where he took up a post as a wildlife veterinarian at the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine. Jerry’s career-long experience with wildlife has spanned over five decades and four continents. He has worked on species ranging from elephants, to wild dogs and polar bears, to moose. He is the author of Of Moose and Men: A Wildlife Vet’s Pursuit of the World’s Largest Deer, The Trouble with Lions: A Glasgow Vet in Africa, Porcupines to Polar Bears: Adventures of a Wildlife Veterinarian, and Wrestling with Rhinos: The Adventures of a Glasgow Vet in Kenya. He and Joanne, together for over 50 years now, live near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Yann Martel is the author of the international bestseller and multi-award-winning novel Life of Pi. He is also the author of The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios, Self, Beatrice & Virgil, and 101 Letters to a Prime Minister. He lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with the writer Alice Kuipers and their four children.