Reindeer, commonly called caribou in North America, is a species of deer best known as the animals that pull Santa’s sleigh. They are similar in appearance to other deer, although they are are one of the only species of deer where both the male and female grow antlers. Reindeer have been an important animal throughout their range where they have been hunted or domesticated for their; meat, milk, hides, antlers and as a method of transportation. Let’s take a look at the range and distribution of this animal
Where do reindeer live?
Reindeer were once found throughout the northern regions of Europe, Asia and North America. Today, wild reindeer are no longer found throughout much of this range, especially the southernmost regions, due to a variety of factors. However, large populations of wild reindeer are still found in Norway, Finland, Greenland, Alaska, Canada and Siberia. Domesticated reindeer can be found in many regions, including areas where they were not normally found. For example, they were introduced on the island of South Georgia in the southern Atlantic Ocean and the Kerguelen Islands in Antarctic waters. Large domesticated herds of reindeer are found in Russia and Scandinavia. The following is a map of the current range of the reindeer.
Did you know?
The herd of reindeer in eastern Canada was once the largest at approximately 9 million animals. Unfortunately, this population has declined over 90% to less than 80,000 due to human causes and flooding.
It is thought that reindeer were once found as far south as Tennessee and Nevada in North Americ, Spain in Europe and Northern China in Asia!
Reindeer were first introduced into the Santa Claus story in a poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (also called “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”) in 1823.