Norway plans reindeer Slow TV programme

They’ve done the train to Bergen, and the ferry up the west coast, Nor NRK’s is to give another journey its pioneering Slow TV treatment: the reindeer migration.

Norway plans reindeer Slow TV programme
A strolling reindeer. Photo: Alexandre Buisse/Wikimedia
Thomas Hellum, the NRK producer in charge of slow TV projects wants a 15-20 strong NRK team to spend a seven days following the Sami people on their annual herding of reindeer from the Finnmark plateau to their summer pastures on the coast, with the footage broadcast in real time. 
“Following the reindeer migration from the Finnmark plateau will be spectacular for an incredible number of TV viewers in Norway, and it will certainly arouse considerable interest abroad,” he told Aftenposten newspaper. “It’s a unique and important aspect of Norwegian and Sami reality, which was created to be told in real time.” 
Helium and his team are now looking for a Sami family willing to have their herd filmed on migration, and plan to shoot a pilot on the coming spring to demonstrate that the project is technically feasible, with the broadcast then taking place in spring 2017. 
“Something which must be clarified first is whether we can find a herd that can start on command and if the whole thing is technically feasible,”  Ole Rune Hætta, who runs NRK’s Sami language division in Karasjok. 
Helium said the feasibility of the project would also depend on whether it would be possible to transmit television images in HD quality from Norway’s extreme north to viewers in Norway and the rest of the world. 
Nils Mikkel Somby, a reindeer herder from Karasjok, warned that watching the reindeer migration in real time could push the slow ness of the slow TV close to breaking point. 
“There’s certain to be a lot of waiting, yes, it can actually be damn boring at times,” he said. “At any time the reindeer can lie down in the snow, and when they do that, they stay there for two or three hours,” he said.


Record Arctic heat drives reindeer into cool tunnels

Norwegian authorities have urged motorists to watch out for reindeer that are seeking refuge in tunnels to cool themselves amid extreme heat in the nation's far north.

Record Arctic heat drives reindeer into cool tunnels
File photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB scanpix

“It has been very hot for weeks in northern Norway,” Tore Lysberg, a senior official at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, told AFP on Thursday.

“The animals retreat to colder places, both reindeer and sheep find refuge in tunnels and shaded areas to cool down,” he said.

Although this phenomenon is nothing new, it could be intensified by record temperatures in Norway's northernmost regions.

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute posted a temperature of 31.2 degrees Celsius on Wednesday in Finnmark, a major reindeer herding region located within the Arctic Circle.

The region is so hot that it has experienced 12 “tropical” nights with evening temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius so far this year, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration said no serious accidents involving animals have been reported yet but described the situation as “a challenge”.

The government agency, which has multiplied its messages to raise awareness among motorists, should be helped by the weather, which is expected to return towards normal starting this weekend.

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