In the winter, however, the wild reindeer need peace and quiet, as food is very scarce and, in many areas, covered by snow and ice. They therefore seek out areas where it is possible to find food. The reindeer slow down and prefer not to move much during the winter months because they need to save their energy to get through the winter when access to food is very limited.
In the winter, the reindeer often stay along the road that leads towards Route 7 over Hardangervidda, because there is a lot of activity such as snow kiting, skiing, and dog sledding.
It is important that everyone visiting and staying in the mountains take the wellbeing of the wild reindeer into account and behave considerately towards them. The reindeer population on Hardangervidda is Europe’s largest and comprises approx. 5,500 – 6,000 animals.
When the animals come close to the road, the Norwegian Environment Agency will try to communicate this to those who frequent the area. When we know that there are wild reindeer in an area where snow kiting is popular, it is important to keep a distance until the animals have left the area again.
A kiter or skier has a frightening effect on the animals and can make them want to cross Route 7. This is best to avoid because of the possibility of spreading the dreaded disease Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Therefore, avoid using areas where there are wild reindeer.