The Denver Post - - NEWS -

rovaniemi, fin­land» There’s good news for Ru­dolph and his friends — an app is help­ing of­fi­cials re­duce the num­ber of rein­deer killed in traf­fic ac­ci­dents in Fin­land.

About 300,000 rein­deer freely wan­der the wilds of La­p­land in Arc­tic Fin­land. An es­ti­mated 4,000 are killed every year through road ac­ci­dents, of­fi­cials say, and com­pen­sa­tion to rein­deer herders can be ex­pen­sive.

Most of the ac­ci­dents oc­cur dur­ing the dark win­ter months, when the an­i­mals are hard to spot. Sev­eral meth­ods to cut road­kill have failed, in­clud­ing spray-paint­ing antlers with flu­o­res­cent col­ors, hang­ing re­flec­tors on rein­deer necks and us­ing mov­able traf­fic signs to warn of rein­deer as they wan­der through the lichen-cov­ered fells.

In their lat­est at­tempt, of­fi­cials are us­ing a smart­phone app called “Porokello,” Fin­nish for “Rein­deer Bell.”

And it seems to be work­ing — at least last month, when there were 300 fewer rein­deer ac­ci­dents on the roads of Fin­nish La­p­land com­pared with the same month in 2015.

A sim­ple, one-but­ton in­ter­face al­lows driv­ers to tap their smart­phone screens to reg­is­ter any rein­deer spot­ted near roads. It cre­ates a 1-mile warn­ing zone that lasts for an hour.

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