While reindeer-spotting may well be one of the highlights of a trip to Finland’s Lapland region, it doesn’t always end so well for the reindeer.
Each year thousands of reindeer die in collisions with cars, a figure the Reindeer Herder’s Association is hoping to reduce with a bold and cunning new plan.
Most of the estimated 4000 reindeer deaths occur during the long-night months of November and December. This is hardly surprising: huge herds of reindeer roam freely across the sparsely populated region, which is plunged into darkness for months at a time over winter. The combination of permanent nighttime driving conditions and huge beasts wandering unexpectedly across roads is, by all accounts, a recipe for disaster. Or is it?
Local herders have come up with an innovative way to reduce the number of car-reindeer accidents: they have painted a test group of some 400 reindeer’s antlers with iridescent paint, causing them to glow in the beam of car lights. The theory being that a reindeer with glow-in-the-dark antlers is easier to avoid than one emerging from the blackness moments before a collision.
Though it’s too early to tell how effective the new approach will be, full points must be given to the herder’s association for creativity!