(Photo: Anne Ollila/Facebook)
Canadian drivers are accustomed to looking out for raccoons, deer, even moose, on the highway, but in Finland's Lapland region, drivers have to contend with a different traffic hazard: wandering reindeer. That's why employees at the country's Reindeer Herders’ Association are testing out a new reflective spray meant to illuminate the animals on Lapland's dark roads at night.
"The goal is specifically to prevent road accidents," Anne Ollila, the association's executive director, told YLE, the country's public broadcaster. "The spray is being tried on their fur, but it is maybe more effective on their antlers because the reflection can be seen in every direction."
The photo above, from Ollila's Facebook feed, shows a reindeer with the reflective spray applied to its antlers. The product, produced by Swedish company Albedo 100, consists of transparent glue and "reflective microspheres" which the company says were "developed for Nordic conditions." It comes in different formulations, including one the company markets as safe for horses and pets, which you can see in the video below:
According to the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, up to 4,000 reindeer die in traffic accidents each year, particularly in the dark winter months (Ollila told AFP that collisions are "much deadlier for the reindeer than for the drivers"). Herds of the animals are largely privately owned, but allowed to roam freely through much of Lapland.
The spray's trial period began last week with 20 reindeer in the Rovaniemi district, AFP reports. If the trial proves successful, the spray will be deployed on more reindeer in the fall.