Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Fluorescent antlers for reindeer

A reindeer after a test in which Finnish herders dabbed it with fluorescent paint (AP/Anne Ollila, executive director of the Reindeer Herders' Association, Finland/Lehtikuva)

Rudolph the reindeer is having a glittering antler makeover - the latest attempt to halt some of the thousands of road deaths of the roaming caribou in the wilds of Finland.

The antlers of 20 reindeer have been painted with various fluorescent dyes to see how the animals react and whether the paints are resistant to the harsh Arctic climate, said Anne Ollila, of the Finnish Reindeer Herders' Association.

If successful, animals with glittering antlers will be free to roam Lapland - a vast, deserted area in northern Finland where herders tend to some 200,000 reindeer.

Ms Ollila says reflectors and reflective tape have proven unsuccessful as reindeer have torn them off - and road signs warning drivers of roaming reindeer are often stolen by tourists as souvenirs.

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