Glow-in-the-Dark Reindeer May Take Over Finland

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)†tracks Santa’s sleigh and his eight reindeer around the globe on Dec 25th, and you can login at any moment and see where Rudolph is leading the jolly group next. But for the rest of the year, in places like Finland, you are on your own looking out for wandering reindeer. Unfortunately, too many drivers†are not looking hard enough, and in Finland alone there are as many as 5,000 reindeer-vehicle collisions every year. Most of these accidents do not end well for either the reindeer, the vehicles or the passengers.

Consequently, Finns, led by Laplanders, who are master reindeer herders, have sought a solution to this devilish problem for decades. In the United States, where†about 1.5 million car accidents involve deer each year, resulting in about $1 billion in vehicle damage, approximately 150 human fatalities, and over 10,000 personal injuries, solutions that reduce deer-car incidents have also been a high priority. But like in Finland, the solution has been elusive.†

However, the website Atlas Obscura reports that Finlandís Reindeer Herdersí Association is now pioneering†a low-tech, inexpensive and simple solution that may greatly reduce the number of reindeer-car accidents: reflective paint.

By coating†the reindeers’ antlers in reflective paint, drivers are easily warned when the animals are nearby. The painted antlers glow like silver beacons in the headlights of oncoming cars, but otherwise remain normal so as to not reduce the reindeers’ ability to blend in with their surroundings.

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In the past, reindeer herders tried spraying the animalsí coats with reflective paint, but the reflective properties proved uneven on the fur and there was the added concern that the paint†interfered with the reindeers’†natural waterproofing. Antlers, however, are always front-and-center and easily painted.

Some reindeer species do shed their antlers in the spring, but in the far north this is when the sun returns and reindeer-car collisions are a lot less likely. Either way, during the fall reindeer round-up, the reindeer herders can easily apply a fresh coat of paint to new and old antlers alike.


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Finlandís Reindeer Herders Association is doing their pilot study with 400 reindeer this winter and are excited to get the results at the end of the season.†

If the project is successful, then I hope it can be exported†to other countries that have issues with reindeer, deer, elk, moose and livestock, as many lives could be saved. Obviously, semi-domesticated reindeer along with livestock are easily painted, but wild reindeer, deer, moose and elk may still prove to be elusive as I do not imagine them signing up each fall†for a painting party!

82 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Alexander Hay-Whitton

If only we could borrow Rudolph and get him to sire a new strain....

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Iskrica Kne¬ězevic

love

thanks

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Monika K.
Monika K3 years ago

Thanks

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Kathryn Irby
Past Member 3 years ago

Unique concept! Thanks for sharing.

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Kathryn Irby
Past Member 3 years ago

Unique concept! Thanks for sharing.

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Kathryn Irby
Past Member 3 years ago

Unique concept! Thanks for sharing.

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Ruth S.
Ruth S3 years ago

Hopefully poachers won't take advantage of this! When the moon is full and shining bright, do they glow? Predators would like that!

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Sam E M.
Sam E M3 years ago

I don't like this idea at all. There are probably chemicals in the paint and it makes the reindeer sitting ducks for hunters. If people drove with more care, in whatever type of vehicle, resorting to painting wild animals should not be necessary. Why do the animals always end up victims of humans who can't be bothered to take more care?

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Rory S.
Rory S3 years ago

I'm all for it if it prevents accidents and unnecessary deer deaths. It reminds me of some anti poaching measures I read about recently. Rhino horns are being dyed pink to make them worthless or injected with low doses of poison so that if theyre taken as quasi medicine the user feels ill. There's also a company intending to produce synthetic ivory to flood the market and make poaching unprofitable

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