Norway’s reindeer population will be getting some shiny new apparel in the upcoming weeks, courtesy of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. According to UPI, officials plan on attaching reflective cuffs to the antlers of roughly 10,000 reindeer in an effort to decrease automobile accidents.
Norway is known to have one of the largest reindeer populations in the world, with the last remaining population of wild tundra reindeer in Europe. The country has a long—and unbroken—history of reindeer hunting and sportsmen still harvest the animal to this day. Especially notable is the mountain plateau of Hardangervidda, which contains the largest gathering of reindeer in the country. Local cuisine often involves reindeer meat along with smoked and salted fish. Norway also has a significant domestic and semi-domestic reindeer population, a large portion of which is owned by the indigenous Sami people.
The Digital Journal reports that there is an estimated 200,000 reindeer in Norway.
Officials hope that the reflective cuffs will be more visible to passing motorists to prevent deadly crashes, and help preserve the population overall. As fitting all of Norway’s reindeer would be cost-prohibitive, experts say that only a few in each herd will receive the cuffs. Since reindeer travel in groups, the presence of one reflective cuff likely signals a larger reindeer presence in the area.
Article updated 1-23-2014 with additional information.