This is a busy time for reindeer, but far away from the festive hustle and bustle, Rudolph, Vixen and Blitzen are living the dream.
This trio won’t be seen pulling Santa’s sleigh – their task is to graze the land at Predator Experience, an eco-tourism business at Ayside near Cartmel.
‘We wanted an alternative grazing animal,’ explained Dee Ashman who runs the visitor attraction with her husband, Daniel.
‘Although we are not by any means anti-farming, we are anti intensive farming. We advocate more traditional methods of tending to the land because it’s more conducive to a healthy eco structure. And believe it or not, reindeer were actually native to Lakeland at the time of the Vikings so being able to bring back a ‘lost’ species was appealing to us, even if it’s in a more controlled environment than a release programme, which wouldn’t be suitable in the Lake District now.’
The reindeer are also kind on the land as their long snow shoe hoof span makes little impact on grassland, keeping the land tidy for visitors to Predator Experience.
‘All of our experiences are geared around the natural world, the concept of evolution, biodiversity, and healthy ecostructures, so Christmas activities aren’t part of our policy,’ said Dee.
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