Russian authorities have found another use for reindeer: police mounts. According to the Guardian, they’re considering starting a reindeer police force for northern tundra regions.
Parts of the remote Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug area, in northwest Siberia and home to indigenous people, are accessible only on reindeer. A police official told the Guardian that authorities in the region have been having trouble bringing people into the station and chasing down suspects who escape on their own reindeer. The force currently uses snowmobiles, but those can break down and run out of gas. Reindeer are more adept at navigating the frozen land.
“Of course we have snowmobiles in service, but one should understand that a machine is a machine,” the Interior Ministry’s Irina Pimkina told Russian newspaper Izvestia. “A snowmobile can break down or get stuck in the tundra, but the deer will run at all times.”
Most crimes committed in the district in 2014 were drunken fights, robberies, and hooliganism, according to the Moscow Times.
Russia has used animals for law enforcement in the past, from mine-hunting dolphins to donkey mountain patrols. The Moscow Times reports that police started asking for reindeer in 2012 and included a plan for police camels.