Ned Rozell / Dan Chay


St. Matthew Island — Overshoot & Collapse

The story of St. Matthew Island’s reindeer population from 1944 (29) to 1966 (42), featured in today’s Anchorage Daily News, is a potential metaphor for our times.

For many generations of reindeer, St. Matthew Island was literally a land of plenty. The reindeer population on the island exploded following its introduction. By 1963, the population had grown to more than 6000 reindeer. Two years later, 99% of that herd had died of starvation, having destroyed the environment that sustained them, depleting their primary energy source.

November 22, 2003

Leave a Comment