Reindeer Are Being Equipped With Tracking Sensors to Protect Them From Predator Attacks

By Dave Meikleham on at

Rejoice, Rudolph, Blitzen, and the rest of Santa's flying chums I can't remember the names of! Reindeer in Lapland are getting a little Christmas helper in the form of a series of tracking sensors that are being rolled out to help protect the creatures from predator attacks.

Image: Actility

Said sensors are primarily being attached to alpha female deer to help locate entire herds, with trackers able to follow the animals' movement via their smartphones.

Around 10 per cent of reindeer are killed each year either by wolves, bears and wolverines, or traffic accidents. It's hoped these new tracking measures will help save deer, and as a follow-up, there are plans to place tracking devices on predators in 2018.

Though hopes are high for the sensors, Matti Sarkela, who's head of Finland's Reindeer Herders' Association, stressed the current boxy form of the devices isn't ideal:

"We need a sensor that lasts for a year, at a low cost, and with improved location technology - it can be hard to get good GPS signals in the high Arctic. We're working now on finding the best technology mix and getting the best sensor."

The devices, which are provided by internet of things firm Activity, use mapping software provided by Finnish start-up Mapitare.

Here's hoping the sensors reduce reindeer deaths, and become a smidge less bulky in the future.