Rescued Reindeer Calf Thriving in East Iceland Skip to content

Rescued Reindeer Calf Thriving in East Iceland

By Yelena

The Reindeer Park
Photo: The Reindeer Park.

A half-month-old reindeer calf found abandoned in the mountains is now thriving in an East Iceland sanctuary called the Reindeer Park. The calf’s caretakers say it’s a lot of work to care for an abandoned calf, but it’s not their first time. Vísir reported first.

The Reindeer Park is located at Vínland, a guesthouse near Egilsstaðir, East Iceland. Kolbrún Edda, one of the park’s caretakers, says it received a phone call about a small reindeer calf found abandoned in the mountains outside Egilsstaðir, near Ormsstaðir. Björn Magnússon, a reindeer farmer and Edda’s grandfather, then rushed to its rescue.

The Reindeer Park
The Reindeer Park.

Drinks every two hours

The farm is already home to two reindeer bulls, named Mosi and Garpur, that were rescued and fostered by Björn in 2021. They were only a few days old when they were rescued by Björn, who served as their surrogate mother, as he is currently doing with the new calf. This requires being with the calf day and night, sleeping outside in the barn and feeding her every two hours. The new calf was only a day or two old when she was brought to the Reindeer Park, Edda says. “She has thrived quite well and is about half a month old today. It’s a ton of work to have a motherless reindeer calf and grandpa has been with her around the clock, day and night, taking care of her and making sure she gets everything she needs.”

The Reindeer Park
The Reindeer Park.

Reindeer are not originally native to Iceland but were imported to four different regions from Finnmark, Norway between 1771 and 1787. Only the last group, imported to East Iceland, thrived, which remains the only region where they are found in Iceland. Reindeer have no natural predators in Iceland, other than humans, and reindeer hunting is permitted with a licence and during a designated season. According to the Reindeer Park website, reindeer rarely give birth to twins, but even when they do, they do not produce enough milk for more than one calf. This is likely the reason for calves occasionally being found abandoned.

Naming competition launched

The Reindeer Park has launched a naming competition for the new female calf in its care. Edda told Iceland Review the winner will receive a prize that includes two nights of accommodation at the park, a ticket to nearby Vök Baths, and more.

Edda says that the park is a popular destination for travellers in the area. “We’ve been getting a lot of visitors despite little advertising, and last winter we had visitors every single day, despite not having any opening hours. And last summer around 4,000 people came.”

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