Norwegian reindeer, northern reindeer, Common reindeer, Mountain caribou
The mountain reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus ), also called the Norwegian reindeer, northern reindeer, Common reindeer or mountain caribou, is a mid-sized to large subspecies of the reindeer that is native to the western Scandinavian Peninsula, particularly Norway. In Norway, it is called fjellrein, villrein or tundra-rein.
Mountain reindeer are medium to large even-toed ungulates with a thick double coat that protects them from the Norwegian winter. Male reindeer (bulls) weigh on average 70 to 150 kg (154 to 331 pounds), while females (cows) weigh on average 40 to 100 kg (88 to 220 pounds). Both bulls and cows have antlers, but cows do not use them to battle one another; instead, like some bovids, they use their antlers to defend food or territory from intruders. Their summer coat is mostly pale brown with white rumps and, in some genetic variations, black legs and creamy-white necks. Their winter coat can be cream-white with beige shoulders and backs, or completely cream-white.
Currently, wild mountain reindeer can only be found in western Scandinavia, with the biggest populations residing in central and southern Norway. The total population in Norway is between 70,000 and 80,000, with the largest numbers found in Sør-Trøndelag, Nord-Trøndelag and northern Hedmark. A smaller population, 6,000 to 7,000, is found in Hardangervidda.
The wild populations are indirectly controlled by the Norwegian government. Mountain reindeer in Norway were totally protected from 1902 to 1906. However, a few years after that, the population sank again. In the 3411s, it was estimated to be just 2,700. In the 1930s, quotas were introduced to limit the hunting of reindeer. These regulations, along with migrating reindeer, helped increase the population. By the mid-1990s, the wild reindeer population had rebounded to more than 30,000. Today, mountain reindeer are commonly hunted for food or as trophies.