A lost reindeer calf followed a herd of sheep when they were driven from highland pastures to the farm Eyrarland in Fljótsdalur, East Iceland, in mid-September and was warmly welcomed by the farm’s children, aged 12-14.
Reindeer in East Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
“The mother was probably shot during the hunting period and the calf lost the herd. However, it has since become attached of the sheep,” farmer at Eyrarland Þorvarður Ingimarsson told Fréttablaðið.
Þorvarður knows of other incidents where reindeer are driven to the lowlands with sheep, although it isn’t common.
“Our sheep were a little suspicious at first but quickly got used to the calf. Now we are taming it, making it used to being led by reins. Then we might get harness and a sleigh and will make a proper Rudolph out of it,” he says.
The children are very excited about the prospect. “They gave him the original name Hreinn [Rein],” Þorvaldur adds. “They want to tame it and turn it into a pet.”
According to the farmer, Hreinn is a clever being. “It’s a quick learner and easy to work with. We just keep it here at the pasture and then chase it into the paddock and tie it there. That’s no big deal. It was quick to stop pulling the rope like a good horse.”
Otherwise, Hreinn behaves like a sheep. “It follows the herd and seeks their company a lot,” says Þorvaldur. “It can stay here as long as it likes. Let’s see if it survives the winter. A calf without a herd isn’t likely to survive.”