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Reindeer

Sweden has an estimated population of semidomesticated reindeer varying between 225 000 and 280 000 in winter herd; approximately 70% is female reindeer.

picture on reindeers
There are no wild reindeer in Sweden despite that they mostly are free ranging. Photo: Dan Tjell

Today reindeer husbandry is focused on meat production and approximately 50 000 animals, mainly calves, are slaughtered annually. Nowadays, reindeer husbandry is an extensive pastoral system where different grazing land are used seasonally, covering almost 50% of Sweden. There are about 4 600 reindeer owners where 85% lives in the county of Norrbotten. The reindeer husbandry is of great importance to the Sámi culture and to local stakeholders in the north of Sweden.

The health situation is in general very good, but for instance infectious disease in the eye and mouth and feeding related disorders may cause disease. The event of supplementary feeding, which is only performed occasionally under harsh winter conditions, may trigger outbreak of disease. Some of these important infectious diseases, such as orf, necrobacillosis and infectious keratoconjunctivitis, are further investigated in an ongoing project (2021-2024) at the National veterinary institute (SVA).

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) are until today not found in Swedish reindeer but are supervised in a national, as well as EU-regulated, control and surveillance program.