Wild reindeer (caribou) may face a new threat from the extreme sport of snow-kiting, a study has found.
They found that reindeer were more afraid of snow-kiters because of the airborne kite.
The study recommends that controls are put on the sport to prevent harm to wild reindeer.
Snow-kiting is a new sport, similar to kite-surfing, in which the rider wears skis and is pulled along by a kite.
It is thought to be one of the fastest-growing recreational sports in Norway.
Amid growing concern among wildlife managers and politicians the study, which is published in the journal of Applied Animal Behaviour Science, assessed the potential effect of this activity on wild reindeer in the alpine area of Norefjell-Reinsjøfjell.
Scientists conducted experiments in which the reindeer were confronted by an approaching skier or snow-kiter.
They gathered data on the animals’ reactions, such as distance from the skier or snow-kiter when the reindeer fled, how far they ran and how long the fright response lasted.
Using this information, the scientists were able to predict the likely effects of an increasing number of skiers and snow-kiters on the reindeer population.