(Rangifer tarandus) – or a caribou and subspecies of a deer
Reindeer is an essential part of Lapland’s nature and one of the northern nature’s characteristics. It is a semi domesticated deer used as a domestic animal. Reindeer roam free – in spring and summer they prefer wandering in peatland and in autumn they roam in spruce forest. In summer reindeer eat leaves from bushes, grass and hay. During winter time lichen is vitally important nutrition for them.
Reindeer is well adapted to harsh northern conditions. It survives +30 Celsius in summer and even -40 Celsius during winter. Reindeer’s fur is very well thermally insulated and their bodies react to changes in temperatures by making adjustments. Cold weather is not a problem for them but a thick layer of snow makes it difficult to dig through to get lichen to eat. Reindeer live in Scandinavia, Svalbard, Russia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland. Reindeer have been moved even to Iceland. Almost the entire area of Lapland and a part of Oulu province are reindeer herding areas. The area is more than 36% of the surface area of Finland.
Reindeer is a very useful animal for a man. It is an excellent mean of transport and its skin, antlers and bones can be used for various purposes. Even today reindeer meat is important nutrition and reindeer husbandry is important source of income. 2 million kilos of reindeer meat is sold annually.
At the moose manor we have two reindeer girls, Malla and Saana. They were born in June 2014 in Ähtäri zoo. Now they live together with a herd of fallow deer in harmony in the same corral.