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October 31, 2014

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Forget shiny noses; reindeer antlers in Finland glow

Image

Anne Ollila, Executive Director of the Reindeer Herders' Association, Finland/Lehtikuva / AP

In this picture taken on Feb. 15, 2014, in Rovaniemi, Finland and provided by the Reindeer Herders’ Association, a reindeer is seen with fluorescent antlers after a test in which Finnish herders dabbed it with fluorescent paint.

HELSINKI — Rudolph the reindeer is having a glittering antler makeover — the latest attempt to halt some of the thousands of road deaths of the roaming caribou in the wilds of Finland.

Anne Ollila of the Finnish Reindeer Herder's Association says the antlers of 20 reindeer have been painted with various fluorescent dyes to see how the animals react and whether the paints are resistant to the harsh Arctic climate.

If successful, animals with glittering antlers will be free to roam Lapland — a vast, deserted area in northern Finland where herders tend to some 200,000 reindeer.

Ollila says reflectors and reflective tape have proven unsuccessful as reindeer have torn them off — and road signs warning drivers of roaming reindeer often are stolen by tourists as souvenirs.

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