Reflectors save reindeer from road kill fate

Reindeer in Norway are being fitted with reflectors in a bid to save their lives on the road. Each year, around 500 of the animals are killed and several people are injured in car crashes involving the hefty beasts.

Now, about 2,000 of the festive creatures are being fitted with antler tags and reflective collars in the hope that increased visibility will protect against collisions. A test exercise with a snowmobile showed that the marked reindeer were much easier to spot in the dark.

“It really works,” Kristian Oevernes, the leader of the project at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, said in a report by the Telegraph. “This is the first time it [reindeer marking] has happened on this scale,” she added.

According to the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, around 200,000 of the animals live in Norway. They are mainly reared by the indigenous Sami people who keep them for their skin, meat and antlers.

In earlier attempts to protect their herds, the Sami people adorned their animals with reflective spray and tape. The spray, however, reduced the fur’s ability to keep out the cold while the tape’s glue did not hold in the winter weather.

If the trial is successful, it is hoped that the Sami people and car insurance companies may be interested in buying the collars.