You know Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid . . . ?
Their cousins may all be dead soon.
Faced with a public health crisis straight from a dystopian horror movie, officials in a remote region of Siberia have proposed killing off 250,000 reindeer by Christmas to minimise the possible spread of deadly anthrax bacteria, according to the Siberian Times.
The alarm started in July, when an outbreak of the bacteria killed a 12-year-old nomadic boy and sickened nearly 100 people in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, a vast northwestern region of the Siberian tundra. More than 2300 reindeer also died.
ergency but also tried to reassure the Nenets, the nomadic indigenous people of the region, who roam with the herds of reindeer and depend on them for their existence.
"There is no epidemic in Yamal," Kobylkin told the Associated Press then. "Only a small area was quarantined."
The Yamal Peninsula, where the outbreak occurred, was immediately closed off and the carcasses of the dead animals burned. Kobylkin said all the reindeer on the peninsula - some 300,000 - were vaccinated, the AP reported.