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Photographing the Last Reindeer Herders

SWEDEN | Thursday, 20 February 2014 | Views [3664]

The Sami, indigenous people of northern Scandinavia, Finland and Russia, still mange their herds of semi-domesticated reindeer. Although some of the methods have changed (helicopters and quad bikes are not uncommon), much is still done in the manner of their ancestors. That is particularly true when it is time to separate and mark the new calves, and I had the great privilege of being able to partake – and document – the annual round-up near Nikkaluokta, Swedish Lapland; an area now under threat from foreign mining operations.


Not his lucky day: the reindeer selected for slaughter are caught by rope before being separated from the rest of the animals

After several hours of 5000 reindeer constantly moving about, the air was thick with dust

A young calf, having been caught by rope, has its ear marked by a member of its owner’s family

Five thousand reindeer were rounded up into the larger enclosure, a job that involved more several dozen Sami of all ages

About the Author

Marcus Westberg is an award-winning photographer and a regular contributor to Africa Geographic, NationalGeographic.com, Vagabond and Huffington Post. View more of his work on his website and on Facebook.

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Tags: experiences, photography, sweden, travel

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