In Greenland for thousands of years

Reindeer have lived in the Arctic for thousands of years and during that time have made up a major part of the staple diet of humans living in the area.

The reindeer in Greenland belongs to the deer family and is the only species of deer in Greenland. At the same time the reindeer is the most widespread land mammal on most of the west coast of Greenland.

There are therefore good chances of seeing reindeer on a hike in the Greenlandic fells, in particular in the area between Paamiut and Uummannaq.

"The reindeer in Greenland belongs to the deer family."

"The reindeer is a shy animal, and reacts very quickly to sudden sounds or movements as well as the smell of strangers."

The reindeer is a shy animal, and reacts very quickly to sudden sounds or movements as well as the smell of strangers.

If you want the chance to take pictures or even just approach a reindeer, you must as far as possible approach it downwind so that the reindeer will have more difficulty in smelling you. Once it catches your scent, the reindeer can gallop away at a speed of 70 kilometres an hour (45 mph).

However, if there is a large herd of reindeer, it is more likely that they will just continue chewing their food, as they feel more secure when many of them are gathered together.

Hunting reindeer

In the late summer or autumn you can see reindeer being hunted at many places on Greenland's west coast.

In the harbour areas you can see people sailing in with the spoils of the hunt, where much of the meat is sold at "the board", which is a local meat and fish market.

Outside private homes you can see meat maturing or drying. Dishes with reindeer meat are a real Greenlandic delicacy served at many hotels and restaurants. At many places in Greenland you can buy souvenirs fashioned from reindeer antlers.

"At many places in Greenland you can buy souvenirs fashioned from reindeer antlers."