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Reindeer Rangifer tarandus - Svalbard - 1

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Also known as caribou in North America. This is a large male who displays his fitness as a mate by the size of his antlers. These are bony structures that grow each year and then shed. Being able to grow such large structures on an annual basis is nutritionally and energetically intensive and so a good indicator of how fit an animal is.

Reindeer antlers are the second largest antlers after those of moose, though the largest of any deer relative to body size. They grow under a layer of "velvet" which is then shed when they have reached full size.

This picture taken on the lower slopes of Alkhornet mountain.

Picture copyright Paul Ward

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