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That Magical Herd of Reindeer Rides an Industrial Barge, Not a Sleigh

Illustration for article titled That Magical Herd of Reindeer Rides an Industrial Barge, Not a Sleigh

Reindeer might seem like mythical beasts that make an annual holiday appearance only to disappear back into some magical North Pole night—but the big-horned mammals are very real and, for centuries, they've been herded by the Sami people who live year-round in arctic-adjacent Lapland. French photographer Celine Clanet has been snapping the incredible goings-ons of their cold weather culture since 2005, and shared her findings with the good folks at Modern Farmer.


Though the animals look robust, the wild weather means that herding can be a delicate affair. The Samis thus use an interesting assortment of traditional and more modern aids: keeping stragglers with the group requires constant, binoculared supervision from covered wagons, for example, and even ferries are rented to shuttle the furry friends across the frosty waters to an island where they give birth. This industrially assisted migration happens every winter.

See more of Clanet's beautiful photos here—and give Dasher and Dancer a wink when you see them next week, because now you know it's not all easy living up there in the cold. [Modern Farmer; Celine Clanet]

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So now we finally know what the Google Barge is for! Santa!!