Breathtaking drone video taken in the Arctic Circle captured an enchanting ‘cyclone’ of reindeer.
When threatened, reindeer begin to storm in a circle, making it difficult for a predator to find an individual target.
In the clip, the herd’s fawns are in the center of the swirl with the money running around them in a protective ‘dance’.
The deer stampede was captured last week by a photographer in Murmansk, Russia, just before a vet was about to give the herd his anthrax vaccinations.
Such behavior has been observed in dolphins, bison and even elephants, but the aerial photo – combined with the speed and size of the herd – makes for a truly hypnotic image.
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Last week, a drone captured fascinating aerial images of a reindeer ‘cyclone’ in Murmansk, a region of Russia in the Arctic Circle. The herd was shocked when a vet came to perform anthrax vaccinations
Photographer Lev Fedoseyev used air drones to film the reindeer cyclone on March 24, just outside the village of Lovozero, in the northwestern Russian Oblast of Murmansk.
Reindeer are the only types of deer that are widely domesticated and domesticated the Sami people who come to Murmansk are known as reindeer herders, who use the animals for food, fur and to drive their sleds, the so-called pulks.
When the drone’s camera pulls out, a second cyclone can be seen in a nearby housing.
The ‘dance’ is actually a protective maneuver: When a herd senses danger, adult males storm into a circle that can disorient wolf packs, bears and other predators.
The fast-moving spiral is a defensive maneuver that makes it difficult for a predator to choose an individual target
The Sami people living in Murmansk are known as reindeer herders, who use the animals for food, fur and to drive their sleds called pulks.
As an extra precaution, the deer and fawns sit in the center of the whirlpool.
“Reindeer cyclones are real,” Twitter user Science Girl wrote in a post sharing the clip. “A swirling mass of endangered reindeer storming in a circle, making it impossible to target an individual.”
Reindeer can reach top speeds of 50 miles per hour, fast enough to keep a predator from jumping into battle, according to the San Diego Zoo.
In this case, however, it wasn’t a predator that scared the animals: the regional vet had come to perform anthrax vaccinations.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, reindeer can travel in herds of as few as 10 to groups of hundreds of individuals , but in the spring they can form super herds of up to 50,000 to 500,000 deer.
The largest wild herd in the world, the Taimyr herd of migrating Siberian tundra reindeer has grown to one million animals.
Reindeer can reach top speeds of 50 miles per hour, fast enough to keep a predator from jumping into battle
The drone camera captured a second reindeer cyclone in a nearby enclosure
Deer and fawns are kept in the center of the ring, with the money around it in a protective circle
Reindeer are the only deer in which both males and females grow antlers. They are also the only deer species widely domesticated
The 2019 PBS documentary Wild Way of the Vikings showed a Viking hunter confronted by a reindeer cyclone to illustrate how settlers in the region hunted the animals for their meat, hides, antlers and bones a thousand years ago.
Arctic reindeer have developed several defense mechanisms to deal with predators, including ultraviolet vision that allows them to see wolves against the white snow.
They are the only deer in which both males and females grow antlers, although scientists believe they serve different purposes.
Males, who shed their antlers in November or December, use them to repel attacks from predators and other money and to demonstrate their fitness to potential mates.
Females, meanwhile, keep their antlers until spring and use them to push snow aside and access food.