"Every April, Sweden’s main highway comes to a periodic standstill.
Hundreds of reindeer overseen by indigenous Sami herders shuffle across
the asphalt on the E4 as they begin their journey west to the mountains
after a winter gorging on the lichen near the city of Umeå. As Sweden’s
main arterial road has become busier, the crossings have become
increasingly fractious, especially if authorities do not arrive in time
to close the road. Sometimes drivers try to overtake the reindeer as
they cross – spooking the animals and causing long traffic jams as their
Sami owners battle to regain control.
“During difficult climate conditions, these lichen lands can be extra
important for the reindeer,” says Per Sandström, a landscape ecologist
at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences who works as an
intermediary between the Sami and authorities to improve the crossings.
This week, Swedish authorities announced they would build up to a dozen
“renoducts” (reindeer viaducts) to aid the crossings and allow reindeer
herds to reach grazing more easily."
Via Frederick Wilson II.
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Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics