Its lifestyle may make the wild forest reindeer less prone to collisions with cars than the white-tailed deer, with its habit of leaping in the dark. Wild forest reindeer move in herds and mostly during daylight hours.
The risk of accident is high if wild forest reindeer spend the winter in the vicinity of a busy road. Also, places where they cross roads during their annual migrations can be dangerous in spring and autumn. Roads with low traffic intensities may also attract wild forest reindeer: they offer easy routes, but roadside thickets provide visual protection for predators.
The busiest and likewise the most risky sections in wild forest reindeer areas have been:
- Kuhmo-Sotkamo (Highway 76), Selkämäki in Sotkamo, the ridges of Huhtikangas and Tipas, as far as the urban area of Sotkamo.
- The beginning of Nurmestie in Kuhmo, as well as stretches of road in Hietaperä and Liminsärkkä, especially during migration periods
- In Suomenselkä, on Highway 13 between Kaustinen and Kyyjärvi
- In Suomenselkä, on Highway 16 between Alajärvi and Kyyjärvi
The wild forest reindeer is much smaller in size than the moose, which means that often less damage is caused to cars. A collision with a herd of reindeer can be more dangerous.
At worst, a few dozen accidents involving wild forest reindeer have been recorded in a year. Some collisions remain unrecorded. Depending on the year, transport can thus have a significant effect on development of the wild forest reindeer population.
The roud network in Karelia is not as dense as in Finlands. Nevertheless, the building of big traffic routes (railroads, highways, water channels) also has a large effect on wild forest reindeer, because their wandering routes change and movement is prevented, and at the same time, communication between different groups of animals breaks down.
Wild forest reindeer
Latin name: Rangifer tarandus fennicus, a wild "cousin" of the reindeer
Range and numbers:
In Finland, 750 individuals in Kainuu and 1,450-1,500 in Suomenselkä
In Russian Karelia up to 2,400, with an estimated 1,500 in Arkhangelsk and 2,500 in Kom (the question of the taxonomic status of wild reindeer of Arkhangelsk province and Komi Republic is open and requires special research). See range map.
Conservation status in Finland: Near Threatened (NT)