Flora and Fauna | World

These Reindeer Really Do Shine, And It's For Their Own Good

NPR | Feb. 25, 2014 7:23 a.m.

Contributed By:

Mark Memmott

His antlers are so bright.

His antlers are so bright.

Reindeer Herders' Association (of Finland)

Feeli the Finnish reindeer,

Had some very shiny horns …

OK, we’ll stop there.

Here’s the news:

“Herders in Lapland are spraying their reindeer with reflective paint to help drivers see them in the dark,” the BBC writes.

It’s an experiment to see if glow-in-the-dark antlers might help herders reduce the number of their reindeer killed each year on highways. According to Helsingen Sanomat, the largest circulation newspaper in Scandinavia, on average 4,000 reindeer die in Finland each year when they’re hit by vehicles.

So, Finland’s Reindeer Herders’ Association is testing florescent spray — on the animals’ fur as well as their antlers.

Reindeer herding is a big business in Finland. According to data kept by the Finnish Forest Association, there are more than 7,000 reindeer herders in the country. About 5.5 million pounds of reindeer meat are produced in the country each year, the Forest Association says.

Even though the Herders’ Association has built a 1,200-mile-long fence on the borders of the animals’ grazing lands, it’s not possible to keep all of the 200,000 or so reindeer the herders’ care for from crossing highways.

Perhaps the glow paint will help drivers’ avoid some collisions.

By the way, we are aware that horns and antlers “are often used interchangeably,” but aren’t really the same thing. But you try fitting “antlers” into the opening lines of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Seriously, try it in the comments thread!

(H/T to USA Today.)

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