Arctic reindeer are at risk due to the climate crisis, but in the Highlands of Scotland the UK’s only free-range herd is sleighing it.
The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd is Britain’s only free-ranging herd of reindeer
Believe it or not, reindeer are actually thought to be native to Scotland; however, they became extinct around 800 years ago due to over-hunting. In 1952, a site in Scotland’s Cairngorms became the first place in the UK in which the animals were reintroduced, after Swedish herder Mikel Utsi visited with his wife and thought the area would make a good home for them. Since then, the herd has grown from eight animals to 150 and is looked after by a team of 10 full-time herders.
Positive.News reported that last year, some 200 reindeer – an unusually high number – were found dead from starvation in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, according to the Norwegian Polar Institute, which suggested the climate crisis was to blame. The fact that this Scottish herd is thriving may bring a degree of hope to lovers of these majestic animals. Below, Fifteen Fun Facts about reindeer.
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