published Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Finns give reindeer fluorescent antler makeovers to curb road deaths

  • photo
    A reindeer is seen with fluorescent antlers after a test in which Finnish herders dabbed it with fluorescent paint. Reindeer are 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.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

HELSINKI — 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.

Anne Ollila of the Finnish Reindeer Herder's Association says 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.

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.

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

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