Reindeer husbandry has been carried out across the northern Scandianvian region by indigenous Sami communities for over a millennium. There is huge economic value provided by the animals, who roam fence-free, including the sale of meat and products made from skin and leather, horn and bone.
While tradition continues, today modern farming principles are increasingly being adopted, including technology to help to track and protect thousands of reindeer in the north of Finland and Sweden.
Farmers are eager to know where their livestock is, to understand their condition, and to keep them safe. GSM-based reindeer tracking systems were trialled in the past, but these were ineffective due to communications reliability issues, high cost and poor battery life.
That all changed with the launch of ReindeerApp by Globalstar VAR PrismaQuality Finland, an innovative solution that embraces satellite technology and IoT to track reindeer using customised collars. Since its initial trials in 2018, there has been rapid uptake by reindeer herd owners.
ReindeerApp allows farmers to keep track of their herds, and helps mitigate losses from predators such as wolves and bears. It alerts herders when a deer is no longer moving, and thanks to Globalstar’s satellite coverage and accuracy, the farmer knows exactly where to go to check on the animals.
Petter Kroneld at PrismaQuality Finland, said, ”We knew right away that satellite connectivity would be essential to deliver the reach required. We designed the collar using Globalstar’s SmartOne C due to its satellite coverage, superior battery life, small size and low cost.”
In fact, SmartOne C’s long battery power means farmers need only change the collars’ batteries during the annual round-up in June.
Beyond being used by farmers in Finland, where there are 200,000 free-roaming reindeer, ReindeerApp is also now being used in Sweden, home to 250,000 reindeer, and further deployments are expected in Norway. There is also interest from Canada to track caribou, and from Nepal and Mongolia to manage other deer species.