Western Jotunheimen Wild Reindeer Area
In the past, large numbers of wild reindeer roamed around Jotunheimen. It is most likely the reindeer that attracted our ancestors to this area. The reindeer arrived after the last ice caps retreated northwards. And when the prey migrated north, we followed suit. Today, the wild reindeer are located in the western part of Jotunheimen, while the domesticated reindeer herders in Vågå and Lom keep their large herds in the eastern part of Jotunheimen.
The Western Jotunheimen Wild Reindeer Area is one of 23 wild reindeer areas in Norway. It is a relatively small wild reindeer area with a winter population of approximately 400 animals. These reindeer are the descendants of the last domesticated reindeer population that roamed this area.
Wild reindeer – a shared responsibility
Individual episodes of disturbance aren’t the most critical thing for the wild reindeer. It is the overall number of disturbances that can scare the reindeer away from important habitats. Therefore, when we are out in nature, we must do our best to avoid disturbing the reindeer.
If you come across wild reindeer; move slowly back the way you came. Make sure that the animals don’t notice you and try to avoid silhouetting yourself against a light background.
The wild reindeers’ use of the area
Usually, almost all the animals in the herd gather in the inner part of the area, towards Austabotn and Sognefjellet, during the winter season. This is where the best winter grazing is located. There is less precipitation and the snow drifts away easily. Towards spring, the does and juveniles head south to the calving area. They stay in this outer part of the area until winter arrives once again. The majority of the stags roam around the inner part of the wild reindeer area throughout the summer until the rutting period begins. They then migrate south to the outer parts of the area before returning to the inner parts to winter graze.