Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Finnish reindeer right at home

There are around 200,000 reindeer in Finland, most of them herded in the wild.

Aatu is possibly Finland's friendliest and most house-trained reindeer.

He has a few hobbies and all of them include spending time interacting with humans.

While many reindeer in Lapland spend their time on farms, instead of digging around in the ground for moss to eat, Aatu has his served at a dining table, in a nice warm house.

He can spend time watching television rather than staring at the snow and even enjoys hanging out with humans rather than other reindeer.

Aatu was abandoned by his mother when he was a small calf in the northern Finish wilderness.

After being rescued by a young boy, he arrived at the home of Pia Tuukkanen, who decided to take care of him.

Now at six years of age, Aatu is a fully-grown male reindeer weighing around 100kg, although he has not changed much.

He loves to visit the Tuukkanen home and spend his time relaxing.

According to Ms Tuukkanen, this makes him quite a special reindeer.

"Well normally reindeer don't want to hang out with people. They don't want to be touched; they don't want to be around people. But this one - he thinks he's a dog," she said.

And just like a dog, Aatu needs to go for regular walks around the block.

According to his owner, he's almost fully house trained. But accidents still happen, meaning Aatu no longer lives with his owner full time.

Instead, he comes to visit from the reindeer farm down the road where he spends most of his days.

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