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Svalbard reindeer

The Arctic reindeer

The encounter with a Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhyncus) is very frequent. It is much more common than meeting a polar bear. We first saw a reindeer during the first trekking excursion. We were climbing a rocky slope covered in moss, when a guide whispered “Reindeer”.

We stopped and watched in silence. Two reindeer were looking at us from the top of the hill. They had small horns. We managed to take pictures of them before they moved to the other side of the hill, walking away from us.

You cannot get close to a reindeer. We saw one of them in the settlement of Ny-Alesund, on our way back from the monuments to the Polar explorers. We saw a reindeer for the third time when getting off the boat in Worsleyhamna.

Returning from Longyearbyen – the main Svalbard settlement – we saw the most beautiful reindeer ever: it had huge horns and was grazing in the fields between one building and another.

When we tried to get closer to it to take a picture, it quickly walked away. We followed it on the tarmac road where it walked freely. Then the reindeer stopped to drink from a puddle in the fields and we managed to get nearer and take a closeup picture of it.

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