Reindeers are amongst the most nothernly living large mammals. They inhabit large parts of northern Eurasia and North America. They can even be found on high arctic islands such as Svalbard, Ellesmere Island and Greenland. To escape the arctic winter the reindeer herds migrate up to 5000 kilometres – the longest regulation of land mammals!
Today there are about 4 million wild and domesticated reindeer 3 million worldwide. Three- quarters of the wild reindeer live in North America, and more than three quarters of domesticated reindeer are located in Siberia.
The great herds of reindeer in Lapland and East of Russia are all about “semi-wild” reindeer who are under the care of the Samen.
It is unknown which people first domesticated reindeer, but it is believed they were first domesticated over 5000 years ago in Eastern Siberia. The use of reindeer spread around 1000 BC from Siberia to Scandinavia.