Fact Check-Finland painted reindeer antlers with reflective paint, but social media posts feature digital artwork


A digital work of art showing a reindeer with orange antlers made social media users think it was a real photograph.

Most of the messages accompanying the image refer to real efforts in an area of ​​Finland in 2014 to reduce reindeer deaths on the roads by painting their antlers with reflective paint. The image accompanying the true story, however, is not a real photograph.

Recent posts have gained over 60,000 shares on Facebook ( here , here , here )

The artwork was posted by Instagram user @vasjenkatro, who identifies as a ‘visual designer’, on February 6, 2020 and was indeed inspired by the Finnish initiative. The item description reads: “This is 3D. It is not real. It’s based on a true story I saw from @berinhasi that in Finland they paint rain deer antlers to shine at night so they don’t get hit by cars. This brought me to this work of art. #fujifilm #film # c4d ”( here ).

As reported by the BBC ( here ), the Finnish Reindeer Herders Association started testing this method in 2014 in Finnish Lapland to prevent traffic accidents. Their story features an authentic photograph of the initiative with a reindeer whose antlers are covered in reflective paint.

In 2016, the association had reported that this and other efforts that included hanging “reflectors around their [reindeer’s] necks and even used moving road signs “failed to reduce reindeer deaths on the roads, according to Associated Press (AP) reports at the time ( here ). Later that year, a mobile app recording and tracking reindeer and warning app users of approaching animals was found to have some effect in reducing the number of accidents ( here ).

Reuters has asked the Finnish Reindeer Herders Association for more information on these initiatives. This article will be updated accordingly.

Some social media posts include authentic photographs alongside the artwork ( here, here). The images were attributed to Anne Ollila, director of the Finnish Association of Reindeer Herders ( here, here, here, here).


Badly subtitled. In an attempt to reduce traffic accidents and reindeer deaths in one area of ​​Finland, the Finnish Reindeer Herders Association tried to paint reindeer antlers with reflective paint, but the image accompanying some publications on social networks is the rendering of an artist.

This article was produced by the Reuters fact-checking team. Read more about our work to check social media posts here.


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