The reindeer herders of Oymyakon

The reindeer herders of Oymyakon

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Here is Russia’s far North East through the eyes of its nomadic reindeer herder population, the Eveny. Photographed by Yakutia's most vocal ambassador, journalist and travel guide, Bolot Bochkarev. I've long been fascinated with this region. As the draw of city life and big industry threatens the Eveny way of life it takes ever more effort to survive.

“Young people go off to university and are tempted by the big city. They don’t want to return to a nomadic way of life. So we must try our best to keep children inspired and teach them how to both love this environment and live in it” —reindeer herder Alexander Zamyatin, in a video article on Russia Today

I wonder if sustainable tourism might actually offer an interesting avenue for preservation and income generation. Bolot's images were taken on a small tour he led which employed an Eveny family and 25 reindeer over the course of seven days.

One day, I tell myself...

“If there were no Reindeer there’d be no Eveny. If there were no Eveny there’d be no reindeer!”
“If there were no Reindeer there’d be no Eveny. If there were no Eveny there’d be no reindeer!”
The frozen taiga covers more than a quarter of Russia's almost 4 million sq. km
The frozen taiga covers more than a quarter of Russia's almost 4 million sq. km
The coldest place on earth, Oymyakon recorded a temperature of -71.2C
The coldest place on earth, Oymyakon recorded a temperature of -71.2C
For 1400 years the Eveny reindeer herders of the Russain far East have traveled the taiga and tundra with reindeer
For 1400 years the Eveny reindeer herders of the Russain far East have traveled the taiga and tundra with reindeer
There are approximately 20,000 Eveny
There are approximately 20,000 Eveny
Small tented settlement
Small tented settlement
Protection from hungry predators
Protection from hungry predators
Snow tree blossoms
Snow tree blossoms
Peter and Alexandra, who run their own reindeer herds near the village of Yuchyugei
Peter and Alexandra, who run their own reindeer herds near the village of Yuchyugei
Laika (Russian hunting breed) and her hungry puppies
Laika (Russian hunting breed) and her hungry puppies
Reindeer use their ability to see ultraviolet light to stay safe and find food
Reindeer use their ability to see ultraviolet light to stay safe and find food
A broken horn
A broken horn
Improvised shelter with a welcomed puff of chimney smoke
Improvised shelter with a welcomed puff of chimney smoke
Red-coated binocular lenses reduce glare in bright light
Red-coated binocular lenses reduce glare in bright light
The infamous Road of Bones, built in the Stalin era by gulag prisoners
The infamous Road of Bones, built in the Stalin era by gulag prisoners

More info on the Eveny herders here.

And I’m reminded of this beautiful study in reindeer movement and sound from Lapland, by artist Eva Weber.

Hot Springs!

Hot Springs!

Whistle+Work x Yen Magazine

Whistle+Work x Yen Magazine