The wild forest reindeer favours wilderness areas, which provide suitable habitats for both winter and summer feeding grounds. In summer, they thrive in lush swamps and in winter on lichen heaths. They favour open and windy places where they can smell and see predators from afar, and where there are fewer mosquitoes and other insects in the summer.

In the winter, wild forest reindeer can often be seen lying on lake ice in areas where there are gravel banks or other dry areas. In the autumn, herds of wild forest reindeer are often seen in the fields. Their traditional migration routes often follow gravel banks and ridges.

In the natural forest landscape, wild forest reindeer live in old-growth forests and untouched marshes, where there are fewer moose and wolves.

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Wild forest reindeer

Latin name: Rangifer tarandus fennicus, a wild "cousin" of the reindeer

Range and numbers:

In Finland, 700 individuals in Kainuu and 1,250 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)