The southsami group Saanti Sijte (Essand) collected some of their herd last week. The mating is over, and now is the slaughtering season, until some time after new year. That may sound brutal, but reindeer meat is their income, and the reindeer herding is the traditional life of the sami people. Even the children attends, and for them everything is natural.
The calves got their earmark last July, but some were missed then and they were given a number untill the owner was identified. When everything calmes down in the corall the calf will follow the mother, and then everybody sees from her ears who is the owner.
The hard work is done in a very small corall. Here the ones that is going to be slaughtered is sorted out, and the same with reindeers who doesn’t belong to the group. This is manual work, and you really have to know what to do handling the animals. You also have to recognise all the different ear marks.
This big male is a handful to handle. He doesn’t know yet, but he is only going to be transported to were he really belongs.
Checking the ears to be sure who is the owner.
And in the end, quite a lot of them and especially the females, are let loose to run back to the mountains were they live.
Reindeers are herded over an area of approximately 140.000 square kilometres, or about 40 percent of Norway. In some northern communities the sami people are a a majority. The southsami lives in the middle of the country and they are very few. There are even norwegians who don’t know there are reindeer herdings in this part of the country. The video is from the corral I visited last week. The reindeers are very quiet moving around, but the calves are shouting for their mothers if separated, and vice versa.