Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of March 3, 2015


High reindeer fatality rate feared due to harsh winter
An icy winter has researchers fearing there will be “mass deaths” of reindeer and possibly other animals this year. The ice is making traditional grazing areas impenetrable, forcing animals to higher and more mountainous terrain, with The Governor of Svalbard receiving numerous reports of animals injured or killed by falls as a result. Eigil Movil, the governor’s nature advisor, said officials have euthanized two injured reindeer in recent days. Last year’s reindeer census set a record with nearly 1,500 individuals and Norwegian Polar Institute officials suggest that may contribute to a high fatality count this year.

Galleri Svalbard may replace library at Lompensenteret 
Relocating Galleri Svalbard and the city government’s information center into the space in Lompensenteret now occupied by the Longyearbyen Library is being evaluated by local officials. Jan Martin Berg, the gallery’s manager, said the relocation would be more convenient for visitors than the current site in Nybyen two kilometers from the town center. The idea was suggested during a Longyearbyen Community Council strategic conference last summer. No formal details exist, the council is expected to begin discussing the matter this month. Elin Anita Olsrud, the library’s manager, said she is amenable to relocating due to the high rent at  Lompensenteret, and that a new site might offer more visibility.

Digital subscribers account for Svalbardposten rise in ’14
Svalbardposten ended 2014 with 2,636 subscribers, an increase from 2,561 in 2013, but a nationwide change in calculations that factors in digital subscribers means the figures aren’t directly comparable. But Editor Eirik Palm said the numbers, especially an 18.2 percent increase in registered web users and a 3.6 percent jump in hits to 2.37 million, are encouraging. “We also see that more and more people are choosing digital solutions, whether through a purely digital subscription, a total product with both online and on paper, or day passes,” he said.