In Finland, Reindeer Glow in the Dark

Reflective spray being tested as way to cut down on car accidents

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 20, 2014 11:42 AM CST

(Newser) – Rudolph's glowing nose just became rather unnecessary—at least in Finland, where herders are painting reindeer to essentially glow in the dark. It's not Santa's sleigh they're worried about, but oncoming cars. Roughly 4,000 reindeer die in traffic accidents in the country each year, the BBC reports, and that has the Finnish Reindeer Herders' Association turning to reflective sprays as a potential solution. The reflective idea isn't exactly new: The Telegraph reported in 2010 that Norway was trying to cut down on crashes by using yellow reflective collars intended to allow drivers to better see the animals. But this coating may take things to the next level.

The sprays are only in a testing phase, however: Their stamina under various weather conditions is under review, and herders are trying to determine where such a coating would be most useful—on the fur or antlers. "It may be even more effective on the antlers, because they are seen from every side," says association chair Anne Ollila. She tells the AFP that in a trial that started last week, a washable spray was tried on the fur, and a more permanent version was applied to the antlers of a test group. If successful, Ollila wants to see all reindeer in the entire Lapland region sprayed.

In this picture taken on Feb. 15, 2014 in Rovaniemi, Finland, a reindeer is seen with fluorescent antlers after a test in which Finnish herders dabbed it with fluorescent paint.
In this picture taken on Feb. 15, 2014 in Rovaniemi, Finland, a reindeer is seen with fluorescent antlers after a test in which Finnish herders dabbed it with fluorescent paint.   (AP Photo/Anne Ollila, Executive Director of the Reindeer Herders' Association, Finland/Lehtikuva)
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