Special cooperation with the Sami in Lapland

16 January '20, written by Moving Intelligence

We keep track of everything that moves. Our systems make it easy to track and secure valuable possessions. Naturally one thinks of cars, boats or work equipment, but not immediately of reindeer. Yet it’s possible.

The Sami live in the northern part of Scandinavia, Lapland. With some of them still making a traditional living herding reindeer, the Sami are getting help from Moving Intelligence to keep an eye on their herds. Every spring the reindeer migrate from winter to summer pastures, an impressive trek through the harsh and snowy landscape. There are several occasions during the reindeer migration when the herders drive their herds together to perform a count. To understand better how the migration occurs, why the reindeer disappear and where they go, this year 30 reindeer females, about 10% of the population of the relevant herds, have been fitted with a leather collar containing an Mi01 tracer.

An interesting fact: reindeer mate from late September until the beginning of November. Some reindeer males have 15 to 20 females (hinds) with which to mate. This extra effort can cause a male’s fat percentage to drop to 5%, as they lose a great deal of weight. The neck of a male also swells up and the mane grows in this period. Only the hinds are equipped with collars, to avoid the reindeer losing them, or in case they become too tight because of the swelling. 

The Mi01 tracer ensures that the herders can discover where the reindeer are and where they have been. Are poachers operating in the areas where the reindeer migrate? Are the reindeer getting lost? Are they still healthy? Should we provide extra food? Just some of the questions occupying the herders. The herders are also curious as to whether the reindeer population is suffering from climate change. Northern Scandinavia’s harsh winters have become less severe in recent years. It still freezes at night, but the temperature is often above zero by day. This means the snow melts and the melt water freezes back to a layer of ice at night. The reindeers’ food, mainly lichens, is under that layer of ice, making it more difficult for them to reach it. They can easily get through the snow with their hooves, but it’s a different story on ice. It’s also increasingly difficult for reindeer to survive when food becomes more inaccessible. Opening up an insight into the places where the reindeer have been allows investigation of whether climate change in those places has an impact on the reindeer mortality rate.

Moving Intelligence has made 30 of its Mi01 tracers available to the Sami entirely free of charge, while also assisting the herders in gaining insights into their herd populations and behaviour during migration. The sophisticated technology of the Mi01 ensures that the reindeer can be tracked to the nearest metre, and a specially-developed report notifies the herders when a tracer transmits a position at the same location for two days or more. Reindeer are constantly on the move during migration, so more than two days in the same spot means something is amiss. The herders can easily respond to this to check what’s going on.

The products of Moving Intelligence have all-round applicability, and because we develop all our hardware and software in-house, there are also extensive possibilities for working alongside you on a solution for your mobility or security challenge. Nothing is too offbeat for us.