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Reindeer Warning in East Iceland

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Reindeer Warning in East Iceland

Reindeer, East Iceland

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration is cautioning drivers in East Iceland to be on the lookout for reindeer herds during their travels, RÚV reports. Driving conditions in the eastern part of the country are often quite difficult in the winter months, with snow, ice, and strong winds making many roads impassable throughout the season. However, it's also the time when the country’s reindeer herds generally stay in low-lying areas closer to the coast. This means that they are more likely to be found on or around eastern roadways, which causes a fair number of accidents every year.

Reindeer were brought to Iceland from Norway in the 18th century, and today, the entire population—except for a few reindeer at the Reykjavík zoo—lives in the wild. As of last spring, there were an estimated 7,000 reindeer in the country. The population is closely controlled through seasonal hunting, in order to prevent over-grazing and other environmental damage.

Travelers are reminded to drive with caution throughout the countryside, particularly in the winter. Current road conditions and travel advisories can be found in English at http://www.road.is/.

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