Farmers in the scarcely-populated Árneshreppur in the northeastern West Fjords had to resort to unusual sheep roundup measures while fetching leftover sheep from the wilderness late last month, including skiing with one sheep in a toboggan in tow.
Ingvar Bjarnason shot a video of the operation, while Davíð Már Bjarnason, farmer at Krossnes, took pictures. Click here to view both.
After the sheep were spotted in the northeastern Ófeigsfjörður fjord, the farmers drove on a tractor and two jeeps for over an hour. Then they walked 8 km (5 miles) to reach them, ruv.is reports.
Usually they drive on skidoos and tow the sheep on barrows. However, there wasn’t enough snow for skidoos and the farmers therefore had to be inventive. “When sheep are at risk people from these parts do everything they can and not much can stop them,” Davíð said.
If the weather would take a turn for the worse, the sheep could end up being trapped for weeks in the location where they were spotted.
Today ruv.is reported that 9 percent of lambs expected in the spring die before the autumn. Some die in the womb, others during the birth or a few weeks after.
Between 2.5 and 3 percent of lambs that are driven to the mountains for summer grazing never return. Some are hit by cars, others fall ill or are eaten by foxes. Some sheep are never found.
With fewer sheep farmers, sheep rounding is becoming more difficult. Ways to retrieve more sheep are being discussed, including encouraging more people to participate in the roundup.
One suggestion is that ICE-SAR search and rescue volunteers could search for sheep as practice and a fund raising initiative.