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To Avoid Deer Strikes, Finland Is Painting Deer Antlers With Reflective Paint

Attempts to keep motorists from hitting animals usually center around making cars and roads safer, but the Finns are heading straight to the source

Can you see me now? (Anne Ollila)

Every year, about 4,000 reindeer lose their lives on Finnish roads in car accidents, causing 15 million Euros of damage every year. And now, the Finnish Reindeer Herders Association is testing out a new way to make the large mammals more visible to drivers: reflective paint.

The idea is to spray the antlers of reindeer with reflective paint that reflects motorists’ headlights. "The aim is to prevent traffic accidents. The spray is being tested on fur at the moment, but it may be even more effective on the antlers, because they are seen from every side," Anne Ollila, chairwoman of the Reindeer Herders Association, told the Finnish news source YLE.  

According to the Finnish paper Helsinging Sanomat, most collisions occur in November and December when the roads are icy and it gets dark earlier. July and August are also bad months, as the mosquitos “keep the deer on the move.” 

Most of the time, attempts to keep motorists from hitting animals center around making cars and roads safer. One proposal in Canada suggested painting the a series of reflective pinstripes across all the the lanes, that would help motorists see crossing moose. But the Finns are heading straight to the source, and painting the animals themselves. 

About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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