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Metsäpeura - Ähtäri Zoo

Finnish Forest Reindeer

Rangifer tarandus fennicus

The Finnish forest reindeer was thought to be extinct in Finland until the turn of the 20th century. A pleasant surprise to everyone, the species started to make a comeback in Finland in the 1960s. Currently, Finnish forest reindeer are found in Kainuu, central Finland, and the Suomenselkä area. Finnish forest reindeer are protected animals in Finland. The Ähtäri Zoo participates in conservation work and is part of the taskforce in charge of population management. Finnish forest reindeer and reindeer can crossbreed. In Kuhmo, deer fences are used to try to prevent crossbreeding by separating reindeer and forest reindeer. Visually, the way to tell a Finnish forest reindeer from a reindeer is mainly to look at the legs, which are longer on forest reindeer and make the animal look like a square.

The Finnish forest reindeer lives in hiding

The Finnish forest reindeer is a subspecies of deer. Forest reindeer are larger than reindeer, and they have longer legs and more upward-pointing antlers. In forest environments, predators have more ways to surprise their prey, so Finnish forest reindeer roam in smaller herds than reindeer.

Herds stay together partly due to the clicking sound coming from the tendons in the cloven hooves. The white hair around the tail forms a visible target that helps calves stay behind their mothers even in the dark.

Conservation status

LC stands for “least concern.” The species is well-known, and the population is abundant or stable. In Finland, the species is classified as “near threatened” (NT).


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