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Reindeer Attacks Zoo Keepers Attack Reindeer

Updated on July 3, 2011

The Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus ) is a mid sized deer which ranges in huges herds through the near Arctic regions of Europe, Asia and the Americas. There is only one species of Reindeer but there are several subspecies. The numbers of all of these are in decline. The cause is directly related to climate change. This affects the terrain and food availibility.

Reindeer differ from most other deer in that both males and females have antlers. In North America the Reindeer is more commonly known as the Caribou. In parts of their range the Reindeer have been domesticated for thousands of years.

Photo by:
Photo by:

In a zoo situation all animals should be looked upon as wild. One persons pet animal can be extremely dangerous to others. Some animals can be extremely jealous and others just follow their natural instincts.

Animals with Antlers or Horns need an extra special eye kept upon them especially during the rut or when they are in breeding condition. An animal that is peaceful and unassuming on one day can be extremely dangerous on the next. The sap has risen over night. Rutting males can be extremely dangerous. All Zookeepers should be aware of this.

The following video shows what happens when a Zookeeper was not giving enough attention. What happens next is unforgivable. This is NOT the behaviour of professional zoo keepers. In fact the whole zoo world is disgusted and ashamed by the behaviour of the keepers in this video footage. Professional Zoo Staff have been working for years to develop positive reinforcement and yet here we see negative reinforcement in the extreme.

There is no excuse. My only thought are that these were not professional zoo staff but trainees and unsupervised trainees at that.

Hopefully the video will be around for years to show zoo staff what NOT to do.


(It can be accessed here however : )

Reindeer Attack

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Submit a Comment

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia

    Midsrailer - I have been assured that the movie was shot out of context and what is seen is only part of a much longer and more distressing (for the keepers) episode. They were reprimanded and re-trained.

  • Midsrailer profile image

    Midsrailer 6 years ago from West Midlands UK

    I was sickened to watch this Peter. As a child I was taught at a Secondary school, which bordered a Lord's Estate! Rutting season was a spectacular event to witness from the school sports fields, & a Stag was our school emblem. But even grounds staff who were trained in how to handle the Majestic animals did not venture into the grounds during the season.

    To have subjected this beautiful animal to such horrendus cruelty, in front of the public as well, is incomprehensible. I hope they were severely punished & not just given a slap on the wrist?

    I have enjoyed many of your posts as an 'Avid' follower of Wildlife, please keep up the good work!

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

    I hope they do/did too Cindy.

  • Cindy Letchworth profile image

    Cindy Letchworth 7 years ago from Midwest, U.S.A.

    I had a hard time watching this. These "keepers" are idiots and it begs the question as to who was attacking who. I hope these guys get what they deserve.

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

    theherbivorehippi - You and most of the zoo world are angry because this really is not how animals in zoos are treated. This is unusual and definitely not par for the course. I learned yesterday that although the video just surfaced that the incident actually took place a few months ago. I am also told that the incident was much longer than represented and has been cut down. Even so I believe, and going by the emails I have recieved, very many professional zoo believe this was a reprehensible act. What punishment the people recieved I have no idea but no doubt Belgium welfare groups will follow it up.

  • theherbivorehippi profile image

    theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

    This is an outrage!! I am so incredibly angry right now!! What has happen with these workers? Every single one of them should be jailed (or worse)!! That first b!#*> was right at the door and she could have easily left and all of these other workers continuing to abuse and provoke this creature more. This poor animal! I really want to know what the punishment was for these people! Thanks for sharing this hub so people can really see how many animals in zoos are treated!

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

    Hello hello - yes it was disgusting. Food may work in some circumstances but not when an animal is in rut as this reindeer was. It had a huge rush of hormones and was following its insticts. Thank for reading and watching.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

    They could have put some food down and maybe distructed. I certainly was a behavious of a zoo keeper. Thank you for drawing attention to this disgusting happening.

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

    Silver Poet - I see your point but in actual fact there was no need to put the Reindeer to the floor at all. In the circumstances it would not have helped the situation. Backing to the gate was the most sensible option.

  • Silver Poet profile image

    Silver Poet 7 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

    About the time the reindeer decides to attack somebody, that person needs to know the same techniques used by cowboys in the American west to bring even longhorn bulls to the ground.

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

    It is Ralph...very much so.

  • Ralph Deeds profile image

    Ralph Deeds 7 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan