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During World War II, the Coast Guard decided to establish a Long Range Radio Navigation System on St. Matthew Island, one of the most remote islands in Alaska. They were given 29 reindeer as a backup food supply source in case they were cut off from their ship. When the war was over the base was decommissioned, but the reindeer were left on the island. When researchers visited in 1957, 13 years after the initial release of the reindeer, the population had grown to more than 1,300. The reindeer were well fed and in excellent health. This was possible due to the fact that the reindeer had no natural predators. They also had an abundance of their favorite food supply, lichen, a small leafy plant with plenty of nutrients. When researchers returned to the island in 1963, the population had exploded to 6,000. This extreme growth had an adverse effect on the health of the population. The reindeer were no longer the fat, happy, animals they once were. Instead, they were lean as a result of eating only sage grass, a plant with less nutrition than the lichen. Finally, when researche…