Finland Is Painting Reindeer Antlers With Reflective Paint To Avoid Auto Mishaps

It can be practically hard to see a wild animal on the road before it's too late when traveling at night. Finland estimates that over 4,000 reindeer are killed in traffic accidents each year. The tragic occurrence is extremely expensive; the damages are projected to exceed €15 million (almost $18 million) per year. 

Photo credits: Anne Ollila

This has prompted organizations such as the Finnish Reindeer Herders Association to come up with some methods to reduce fatalities and costs. One simple-yet-ingenious idea was to shower the creatures with reflective paint, causing them to sparkle when exposed to light.

The Reindeer Herders Association painted various areas of the creature with the paint in 2014 thus giving them a bicycle vest. The organization thought that doing so it would make the deer more visible to passing automobiles. This would allow the driver time to slow down and the animal time to flee before a fatality occurred.

“The spray is currently being tried on fur but it may be much more effective on antlers because they can be seen from all sides,” revealed Anne Ollila, chairwoman of the Reindeer Herders Association, explained at the time. The antlers and parts of the reindeer's back were seen shining in the dark in photos of the reindeer.

While a brilliant idea in principle, the Finnish Reindeer Herders Association discovered that it was less effective in practice—but they aren't giving up. “[The antlers] piqued people's interest all over the world, and it was the best advertising yet,” the association said. “There are certain issues with durability and utility but product development is ongoing.”

The reflective painting in Finland is only one example of how humans are attempting to keep animals safe. Several locations throughout the world are also constructing wildlife crossings, which are overpasses that allow animals to cross busy highways and enter their natural habitat. Take a look at this life-saving bridge in Utah.

Reindeer in Finland are getting their antlers painted with bright paint to help save their lives in catastrophic vehicle accidents.

Photo credits: Reindeer Herder’s Association

Photo credits: Reindeer Herder’s Association

H/t: [Smithsonian MagazineAtlas Obscura]

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