If you’re on the lookout for magical reindeer this year, don’t bother gazing skyward—turn your attention to Finland, where local herders are using iridescent antler paint to cut down on deer-car collisions.
In Finland’s Lapland region, vehicles share space with huge groups of freely roaming reindeer, herded by the Sami people. During the long, dark winter, this coexistence can be dangerous.
“Every year, about 4,000 reindeer are lost on Finnish roads in car accidents,” explained Juho Tahkola of the Reindeer Herder’s Association in an email. “We need to find a way to get these numbers down.”
Like a bike vest, the reflective paint only glows when light hits it. The Association has experimented with this strategy for several years, applying various types of paint to various reindeer parts. This year, after spray paint and fur-coating both proved lackluster, they’ve swabbed a test group of antlers with a thick brushing paint. “We have about 400 reindeer antlers painted and we will get results in a couple of months” says Tahkola. In the meantime, on Dasher, on Dancer, etcetera.
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