It’s not easy being a reindeer. These powerful mammals migrate 1,600 miles each year, letting nothing in their path slow them down. If this includes a strait that’s over a mile wide, so be it.
Of course, traveling as a group is a sound strategy for the vulnerable, exhausted reindeer. By sticking together they maximize their survival. They can protect each other from predators, share body heat in the biting cold, and perhaps most importantly, keep their spirits up.
And these are all very important when you live in an environment as harsh as the Arctic.
The swim is a considerable distance for an adult reindeer, and absolutely gruelling for the calves of the herd, who are swimming for the first time. If just one calf panics and turns around, it can cause the whole group to retreat, wasting precious energy and time.
Joining them on their epic swim, is a boat containing a woman named Ella, who is determined to keep them moving forward. As one calf attempts to quit, she hauls it by the antlers to join the rest of the group. After an hour, they arrive safely at the other side, where they will feast on lichen and regain their strength.
These wild animals probably don’t need the assistance of humans to survive the migration, but with changing conditions in the arctic, a little helping hand is probably welcome.