Herders in Finland Spray Reindeers’ Horns With Reflective Paint, and There’s a Good Reason for It
Imagine Rudolph with a shiny nose and glowing horns. That’s what you would encounter if you traveled to Rovaniemi in the Finnish Lapland. But as strange as it may sound, not only do these shiny fellows have luminescent paint splashed on them for the sake of having a magical Christmas — their glowing horns actually save lives.
Join iBuzz on a trip to one of the most northern territories to discover why these big deer are so radiant.
Even winter wonderland has its problems.
People call it “Santa’s home” and if you’ve visited the Finnish region of Lapland, you’d understand why. The landscape, one of Europe’s most northern territories, is packed with endless snow and herds of reindeer. The only problem is that you can encounter one while in your car and more likely than not, one of you will get hurt.
This is how big the issue is.
With over 11 accidents per day involving reindeer, the Finnish Lapland authorities had one big problem to solve. Those unfortunate events usually result in either the reindeer or the person involved getting injured, or even worse. Even considering the government’s compensation, herders still lose their animals and best case scenario, drivers have to pay a visit to the mechanic. There are just too many consequences for this unavoidable misfortune.
Committed herders come to the rescue.
This is how Anne Ollila, director of Finland’s Reindeer Herders’ Association and a herder herself decided to use the glowing light in her favor. She came up with a plan that would make reindeer stand out from the highway. Just like a biker’s vest would light up to avoid casualties, Anne and her team covered the deers’ horns, parts of their fur, and skin with luminescent paint that glowed in the dark when spotted by a car’s lights.
The idea that passed the test
Previous efforts to lower the number of accidents by putting reflectors on the animals’ collars had failed. Reflector lights mimicked those of other cars, confusing drivers into believing a deer was just a car going the same way they were and often didn’t feel the urge to stop. But fluorescent paint passed the test and thanks to Anne and the association’s creativity, road safety is now improving.
More efforts are joining the cause.
The project is still in development but it’s a promising way to control accidents. The association is also working on an app to complement the luminescent spray’s tactics. It seems that attentive drivers, painted horns, and advanced software could be the potential solution for safer roads for people and reindeer.
Do you think this proposal could be reproduced in cities that coexist with other animals? How could we use software for better road safety to our advantage and that of animals? Tell us what you think in the comment section!