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How to protect reindeer from car accidents: glow-in-the-dark antlers

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Rudolph is no longer the only reindeer to light up the night sky.

In Finland, reindeer breeders are spraying antlers with florescent paint to help prevent the thousands of reindeer-related car accidents that occur each year.

Between 3,000 and 5,000 accidents involve reindeer each year, incidents which are "much deadlier for the reindeer than for drivers."

"Reindeer graze free in nature and are quite often hit by cars," Anne Ollila, head of the Reindeer Herders' Association, told Mashable. "We want to find solutions to avoid this."

Finland's Reindeer Herders' Association is currently testing two reflective sprays on 20 of the animals: a more permanent spray for antlers and a washable one for fur.

The spray will glow when a car's headlights shine on it.

"The spray is being tried on their fur, but it is maybe more effective on their antlers because the reflection can be seen in every direction," Ollila told Finnish broadcaster YLE.

If successful — the dyes need to withstand a harsh Arctic climate — the association plans to give more reindeer the glowing-antler makeover next fall during the annual roundup in Laplan, a northern region of Finland where herders tend to about 200,000 reindeer.

"We are hoping that it is so useful that we can use the spray in the entire region and on all reindeer, from young to old," Ollila told the AFP.

Previous attempts to protect reindeer — reflectors and reflector tape — were unsuccessful, as the animals were able to tear them off, the Associated Press reported.

Humans don't help the situation, either. Tourists often steal road signs warning drivers of roaming reindeer.

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