Reindeer have been on Seiland since the last ice age, and are part of the island’s ecosystem. In days gone by, the reindeer swam over the strait on their migration to and from their summer grazing pastures. Today the reindeer are transported over by barge at the end of April, or by articulated lorry on the ferry to northern Seiland. The female reindeer calve on Seiland in the spring, and stay on the island throughout the summer to feast on the nutritious pastures. In the winter the reindeer graze in inner Finnmark. In recent years, some reindeer have stayed on northern Seiland all year round. So you could also see reindeer in the winter.

Seiland reindeer in the autumn. Photo: Per Arne Askeland

Photo: Marit Helene Eira

Bilde 1: Seiland reindeer in the autumn. Photo: Per Arne Askeland Bilde 2: Photo: Marit Helene Eira

ATV tracks from reindeer husbandry in the south-east part of the national park. Photo: Ingunn Ims Vistnes

ATV tracks from reindeer husbandry in the south-east part of the national park. Photo: Ingunn Ims Vistnes

You will find traces of reindeer husbandry in several places: ATV tracks, fences and guiding systems or herder cabins.

The reindeer migrate between their winter and summer grazing pastures. Seiland is a summer paradise for the reindeer, and to survive the long winter it is important that the reindeer spend time on Seiland feeding and putting on weight. In the spring and summer, the reindeer enjoy the fresh green shoots that emerge as the snow gradually retreats up the mountain slopes. On warm summer days the reindeer move high up the mountain or to windy locations to escape the insects and to graze in peace. The reindeer don’t generally flock together in the summer, but spread out in small groups across the terrain.

Reindeer in their early-summer pasture. Photo: Ingunn Ims Vistnes

Reindeer in their early-summer pasture. Photo: Ingunn Ims Vistnes

Females and calves peacefully grazing. Keep your distance! Photo: Ingunn Ims Vistnes

Females and calves peacefully grazing. Keep your distance! Photo: Ingunn Ims Vistnes

If you encounter reindeer

Seeing reindeer close-up is a great experience. Make sure it’s a good experience for the reindeer too, by remembering the following:

  • Keep dogs on a lead. Reindeer may see a dog on the loose as a threatening predator. You must keep dogs on a lead between 1 April and 20 August. You must also keep your dog under control at all other times. Dogs running loose can be a nuisance for reindeer, sheep and other animals. 
  • Make a diversion if you see grazing reindeer.
  • Crouch down and wait until the reindeer have passed if a reindeer herd is moving towards you.

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Contact us

Seiland/Sievju National Park Board
fmfiiivi@statsforvalteren.no
Tel. +47 414 34 401
Visiting address: Havneveien 24, Alta (same building as Alta Havn/Port of Alta and the Norwegian Nature Inspectorate)
Postal address: Seiland/Sievju National Park Board c/o Statsforvalteren i Troms og Finnmark, Postboks 700, NO-9815 Vadsø, Norway

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