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Kutuharju reindeer research platform

The Kutuharju Field Research Station in Inari is the only one of its kind in the world, and is the site of internationally significant reindeer research. It is owned by the Reindeer Herders' Association. Luke conducts research at the experimental reindeer husbandry centre and owns, manages and maintains the long-term data collected in the experimental reindeer husbandry centre. Reindeer research data has been collected since 1969.

Photo: Olli Leino / Luke.

Luke coordinates the research activities and equipment of the Kutuharju Field Research Station in terms of the research or experimental activities that Luke carries out or collaborates with partners. The coordination of the use of reindeer is the responsibility of the Reindeer Herders' Association.

There are up to 170–200 reindeer in the herd. The field research station, divided into four plots, covers an area of 43 km2. In summer and autumn the reindeer graze on the Lauluvaara and Sinioivi plots. In winter, they graze on the Piskivaara and Maantiel plots.

Kutuharju field research station in Inari offers unique and versatile research opportunities for reindeer research. In Kutuharju, reindeer, their behaviour, physiology, genetics, reproduction and food choice can be studied extensively, both in natural pastures and in reindeer feeding areas.

Experimental reindeer herd

  • Summer population 170–200 reindeers
  • Winter population after autumn slaughter 80–100 does, 10–40 calves and 10–20 harts

Extensive natural pastures

  • Total area 43 km2
  • Divided into four seasonal grazing areas.
    • Summer and autumn pastures: Lauluvaara (14 km2) and Sinioivi (15 km2).
    • Winter pastures: Piskivaara (9,5 km2) and Maantie plot (3,5 km2).

Facilities and equipment

  • Feeding pens: 13, 3200-7500 m2
  • Processing pens: 15 pens
  • Feeding cages and troughs
  • Weighing and sampling area
  • Protective equipment for handling reindeer
  • GPS collars
  • Accommodation building (incl. WiFi)

Areas of reasearch

  • Reindeer feeding, forage and food consumption
  • Reindeer dietary choice experiments
  • Reindeer behaviour
  • Reproduction of reindeer
  • Reindeer genetics
  • Physiology of reindeer
  • Reindeer parasites, parasitology and diseases