One of the reindeer whose antlers were covered with a reflective spray to prevent road accidents. / Anne Ollila, AFP/Getty Images
Hoping to prevent thousands of road accidents every year, Finnish herders are giving reindeer a glow-in-the-dark paint job.
The herders' national group is testing two reflective sprays on the animals' antlers and fur to make them more visible as they wander the vast Arctic region of Lapland, the home of Santa Claus.
"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," Anne Ollila, executive director of the Reindeer Herders' Association, told Finnish broadcaster YLE.
In the past week, 20 reindeer (caribou in North America) have become fluorescent guinea pigs. If the paints prove durable and harmless, more animals will be painted next fall. No word on whether the herders considered painting the animals' noses bright red.
Beware the reindeer in the headlights.
Each year, between 3,000 and 5,000 reindeer are stuck by vehicles - mostly during the long, dark, icy days of November and December and the mosquito-infested months of July and August. The results of car vs. beast are "much deadlier for the reindeer than for the drivers," Ollila told AFP.
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