Thursday, December 23, 2010

Where are Santa's reindeer from?

Where do those reindeer that helped Santa deliver your presents come from? Are they local? Of course not, they are from the North Pole you say. Maybe. But, maybe not.

I did not know we had any till today's Kodiak Daily Mirror article... but there are actual reindeer in parts of Kodiak island!

Apparently 32 were brought to Ahiok in the 1920s. From my reading on the subject, in those days the government thought it would be smart to have the natives herd those animals like they do cattle in the Southwest. But herding reindeer never caught on anywhere in Alaska. The natives preferred to let them go loose and hunt only the ones they needed for their personal food.

They let the ones in Kodiak go free also. And so they wander through those parts of the island. Mainlanders, on the other hand, have decided it is a sport to hunt them from a plane or helicopter. And that has been allowed. I must tell you, that if hunting a moving deer while you are standing on firm ground it must be a lot harder to shoot one form the air.

They estimate that 25 - 30 are taken every year. Anyway, estimates are that the population has been stable for the last 10 years despite the hunt...up to about 300 from those original 32. And who knows, I too might "shoot" a few (with my camera) some day soon when I take a sightseeing plane ride around the island.

The season runs between Aug 1 and Jan 31. So Dasher, Dancer, Comet, Cupid et al might want to wait another month before flying down to enjoy our near 30 degree warm weather, compared to that in their frigid northern lands.

In case you are interested: While we have temps about +30, Wasila is -10 and Fairbanks is about -30! What a wonderful world this island is!!!

If you want to read the paper's article, go to

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