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Reindeer return after 800 years

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: September 05, 2008

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A HERD of reindeer is roaming the Westcountry for the first time in 800 years.

The six animals are now roaming free at the 35-acre Trevarno Gardens in Cornwall, after being imported from Scandinavia.

The only place where reindeer live in the wild in the UK is the Cairngorms in Scotland, where they were re-introduced in the 1950s. Reindeer were hunted to extinction in the UK in around 1200.

Richard Cox, general manager of the gardens, which stands in the 750-acre Trevarno Estate, hopes the herd will breed, expand and provide a spectacle at Christmas.

"They came here in November but we were acclimatising them and getting them used to people – we wanted to get that right before they were introduced to the public," he said.

"They are incredibly nice animals. They are absolutely delightful, very peaceful and calming. There were no reindeer herds in the South West and we've always had a passion about creating a traditional Christmas for people. Reindeer are a big part of that."

The move has been criticised by a reindeer centre in Scotland, which has questioned whether the Westcountry's climate was suitable for the animals. Mr Cox said the estate had called in experts to ensure the reindeer were happy with their new home.

"We have looked into it very carefully," he said.

"We have taken advice from experts and, provided the feeding situation is right and the location where they are kept is right, then I think that the South West is an acceptable location."

The cost of importing the herd is thought to be under £10,000, including transportation. Mr Cox said he hoped the first baby reindeer would be born in May 2010.

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    Chris Nowak, Helston  |  September 07 2008, 8:24PM

    I can't see how this is a valid re-introduction unless you're thinking about ice-age Britain!

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    Charles Henry, Somerset  |  September 06 2008, 4:47PM

    I don't think Jerry Pearson from Finland realises why Somerset is very suitable for dairy cattle, but causing concern in the reindeer centre in Scotland.

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    Snowy, Cornwall  |  September 06 2008, 8:06AM

    Santa Claus shown up yet?.

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    jerry pearson, Mariehamn Finland  |  September 05 2008, 4:59PM

    I was delighted at reading about the reindeer. They are truly magnificent animals and totally adapted to living under the harshest of conditions. When grazing under a few feet of snow they use their fore feet, hoves for scraping down to the ground and find their favourite moss or litchen. The Same or Lapps have lived off them for centuries and their meat is said to be a valuable source of vitamine C. The best way to enjoy their meat is to have it smoke cured and thinly sliced on an open sandwiche, smörgås. nice article

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    Charles Henry, Somerset  |  September 05 2008, 2:06PM

    The reindeer is a majestic animal that inhabits the frozen arctic tundra. It has adapted remarkably to a harsh,barren habitat where food is scarce much of the year. . It is an excellent swimmer; aided by a thick coat that traps air and gives good buoyancy in the water. it can easily swim across wide rivers. Habitat: Reindeer live in Northern Asia, Europe, Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland. . In Alaska and Canada, Reindeer live in forests and tundra. . A tundra is land with small trees and plants. Reindeer live in the tundra in the summer and migrate in the fall. They move south in the fall. The Reindeer's thick coat is water-proof. Reindeer live in cold places because in hot places they will lose their coats. . . . Courtesy TAMAKI and WonderClub.com

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    lol, Redruth  |  September 05 2008, 12:14PM

    Reindeer in a temporate climate like Cornwall, ohhhh....I bet they love it, probably brought their buckets and spades and everything, not being used to our climate. Shocking, poor things....

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    Eddie, Camborne  |  September 05 2008, 11:41AM

    Brilliant - seen 'em on tv yesterday. Beautiful beasts. Let's hope the young thugs, vandals and yobbos don't find them to be a "hobby" like they did with the Memorial - erected in memory of heroes - in Yeovil!

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    Eddie, Camborne  |  September 05 2008, 11:28AM

    Seen them on tv yesterday. Absolutely brilliant! Beautiful creatures. How long will it be before the young thug and yobbo element think it would be good for them to exact some form of harm and injury to the new inhabitants. Look at Yeovil Memorial - and not even sent to jail!