Reindeer watch is Norway’s latest slow TV extravaganza

After televising a long-distance cruise and the stitch by stitch knitting of a pullover, Norway is launching its latest slow TV project: following the reindeer migration in Lapland.

Reindeer watch is Norway's latest slow TV extravaganza
File photo: Tore Sannum/NTB Scanpix

Norway has broadcast a series of popular slow TV shows in recent years, delving in extreme detail into subjects ranging from salmon fishing to the art of burning firewood.

“The reindeer (will) decide (the pace) depending on the weather conditions and the grazing possibilities along the way,” said Per Inge Asen, one of those responsible for the project at public broadcaster NRK, told AFP.

“There will definitely be a lot of breathtaking views of nature,” Asen added.

In a modern world full of instant gratification, high stress and racing against the clock, the slow TV format has proven wildly popular in the Scandinavian country: in 2011, around 3.2 million people watched at least part of the five-day Hurtigruten cruise along Norway's coast — an astonishing viewership given the country's total population of 5.2 million.

Now, for nearly a week at the end of April, NRK will broadcast almost non-stop the spring migration of the reindeer, who are herded from their winter pastures on the inland mountain plateaux to their summer grazing grounds in the coastal regions.

READ ALSO: Reindeer police stop Norwegian far north from going Wild West

Drones, camera crews on snowmobiles, and even a camera mounted on one of the reindeer will document the journey of about 100 kilometres (62 miles), travelling at the animals' own pace.

At this time of year, the midnight sun is not yet shining down on Finnmark county, the most northern county in Norway, but the nights are still light enough to be able to broadcast 24 hours a day.



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.

READ ALSO: Norwegians warned not to eat oysters after bacteria outbreak