Reindeer Deaths on the Roads – Blame Salt? (Norway)

November 26, 2008 • Philip BurgessReindeer Herders

At this time of year, large migrations of reindeer are underway in northern Norway. This means the crossing of roads, several of which are busy and driving conditions at this time of year are challenging. There have been several accounts of reindeer being hit by cars, which is nearly always fatal to reindeer.

Some have claimed that the deaths are caused by the salting of roads, which attracts reindeer as salt is something they crave. Salt has been mentioned as a cause in the Skiboth valley. However, Ole Mathis Eira, a herder from Kautokeino and a board member of the NRL/NBR stated to Finnmark Dagblad that the real problem is the fact that roads transect all the pastures. Eira has already lost 10, but some winters loses as many as 70. Not all accidents are reported, as drivers pay compensation to reindeer herders from their insurance.

According to the reindeer police, the most dangerous sections of road are Olderfjord-Kåfjord, Soulovuobme-Stornes, Kautokeino-Finland, Gievdnjegoikka-Suosjavrre, Kvalsund-Hammerfest and Kåfjord-Langfjordbotn, most of which are in West Finnmark.

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