A unique look at Santa Claus's most famous helpers has been provided by the Norwegian Institute of Nature Research, which attached cameras to the necks of reindeer to record stills and video as they went about their daily lives, as Liane Wimhurst reports.
They're perhaps best known for pulling Santa's sleigh. But reindeer also live in the wild on the mountains of southern Norway. The Norwegian Institute of Reindeer Research wanted an insight into their daily lives So they attached cameras to the necks of nine reindeer and let them take stills and video over four years. (SOUNDBITE) (Norwegian) NINA RESEARCHER OLAV STRAND, SAYING: "What we're concerned with in our research is to find out how the reindeer use this mountain area and why. We're especially interested in learning how we humans effect reindeers' use of the area." Researchers found roads and paths were cutting reindeer off from their migration routes. (SOUNDBITE) (Norwegian) NINA RESEARCHER OLAV STRAND, SAYING: "What we've started with in the last few years is that we have a camera on here which takes normal photographs or video of what happens in front of the reindeer when he walks through the mountain area." Many of the images were obscured by fur. Or just showed another blanket of snow. But as researchers trawled through the almost 140,000 shots they found some provided a secret lens on the year-round lives of the festive animals. The best pictures have been collated in a book entitled 'In the Midst of the Herd,' The collection could be delivered by the herd's tamer cousins this Christmas. Whether Santa himself will be ordering a copy isn't known.