Environment Minister to Save East Iceland Reindeer Skip to content

Environment Minister to Save East Iceland Reindeer

Minister of the Environment Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir visited the farm Slétta outside Reydarfjördur in the East Fjords on Wednesday where the reindeer calf Líf is being raised.

A reindeer herd in east Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

The Environment Agency of Iceland had warned that the animal might be destroyed but Halldórsdóttir said she won’t allow that to happen.

“I will do what it takes to ensure that the matter is solved so that Líf can live,” Halldórsdóttir told mbl.is. Incidentally, Líf means “life.”

“She is very tame, just like a pet. The sheep dog was standing there beside her and I was allowed to pet them both,” Halldórsdóttir added.

The Environment Agency had sent a letter to the farmers on Slétta, pointing out a legal provision on wild animals and urging them to apply for permission to keep the reindeer calf at the farm. Otherwise it would have to be destroyed.

According to law, wild animals cannot be kept in captivity. But that doesn’t really apply to Líf. She was brought as a newborn calf to Slétta after she was discovered abandoned by her mother near the local aluminum smelter.

Dagbjört Briem Gísladóttir, the farmer at Slétta, told RÚV that she was shocked and angry about the letter from the Environment Agency, arguing that they could have gone about the matter some other way.

Now the environment minister has responded to Gísladóttir’s criticism. “These people saved her life […]. If Líf chooses to stay there, there is nothing in the laws that defines where wild animals can live. Now we just have to decide how this matter should be arranged. […] It will be fixed.”

Click here to watch footage of Líf.

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