The reindeer has been a central point in the Sámi culture a very long time. It has been the most important element and gave the people food, clothing, craft materials and a means of conveyance. The reindeer is fully adapted to the arctic climate and a skilled survivor. In our business reindeer are incoporated everywhere; you meet them when you visit our Sámi camp, they are your closest neighbours at Reindeer Lodge and it is them that pull your sled on the tours. We have our reindeer to thank a lot and we hope that we manage to convey our love for them to all people who come and visit us.
During the middle of the 20th century the snowmobile became common among the reindeer herders. Before that, besides skiing, the transportation with reindeer was central during wintertime. The reindeer pulled people as well as equipment in gerres (a special kind of Sámi sled). The Sámi also used the reindeer as pack animals during bare ground migrations.
Our reindeer for the tours are reindeer stags. These are male reindeer that are tamed and trained in a traditional way to pull sleds. We start to train them when they are about 3 years old. Even though they are tamed, they have still their natural instincts from the wild. They are also a herd animal, thus, if one reindeer starts to go the rest wants to follow.
Reindeer in Sweden
In Sweden we have mountain reindeer and forest reindeer. The mountain reindeer dwells in the mountains during the summer season and in the woodlands during the winter season. The forest reindeer stays in the woodland around the year. In Scandinavia all reindeer are semi-domesticated, i.e.partly tamed, and herded both in the mountain and the forest region. There are about 230 000 reindeer in Sweden.
The reindeer’s diet
The reindeer graze different kinds of lichens and about 250 species of plants. The winter food (lichen) is poorly nutritional and is not satisfying the reindeer’s need of energy. Therefore, in summer/ autumn the reindeer build up a strong fat reserve to survive the winter.
Protected against snow and cold
The reindeer is acclimatised to endure the long cold winter. The fur is thick and every single hair is hollowed and filled with air. The wide hooves carry the reindeer on the snow. With the hooves the reindeer digs through the snow for food. Through a thick layer of snow the reindeer can feel the smell from the lichen.
Find out more about reindeer on www.samer.se.