Warning: Reindeer crossing roads in East and South East Iceland

Icelandic reindeer in winter.

Icelandic reindeer in winter. Sigurður Aðalsteinsson

 The Iceland Road Administration and the East Iceland Nature Research Centre  would like to warn drivers to look out for reindeer crossing roads in East and South East Iceland. 

Reindeer in Iceland are mostly confined to that region but once lived wild around most of Iceland. However, they are not a native animal to Iceland but were imported from Norway to Iceland in the 18th century. 

There are around 3000 wild reindeer in Iceland, and their population is controlled with seasonal reindeer hunting permits. This ensures they do not damage the fragile highlands or grow to unsustainable herd sizes that would take food away from all the visiting sheep every summer.

Today the wild reindeer live only in South East and East Iceland, mostly at higher elevations in summer but seek lower grassland, closer to the coast in winter. Reindeer are seen every year in the territory extending from Vopnafjordur in the north to the Glacier Lagoon in the south.

It should also be noted that no Icelandic Yule lad has ever been associated with riding a reindeer or using a reindeer sledge, that's reserved for their cousin Santa Claus on the North Pole. 

Reindeer grazing just near the ring road.

Reindeer grazing just near the ring road. Mbl.is/ Sigurður Ægisson

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