Green lights dance across a star-filled sky, and snowflakes sparkle on the trees. It is little wonder Lapland is famous as a realm of elves and flying reindeer, the magical home of Santa Claus. However, this northernmost region of mainland Europe is a real place with real animals, such as reindeer, great gray owls, eagles, wolves, musk oxen and brown bears, who live out their lives in the tundra and forest. Get an intimate look into life in Lapland through the changing seasons, long after the Christmas lights are taken down, where only the toughest survive.
- Witness the mass migration of hundreds of thousands of reindeer. Guided by Sami herders, the two-week journey is a spectacular sight. As the snow begins to thaw with the change of seasons, the reindeer need to reach their feeding grounds by the coast, before the snow gets too soft to run on.
- A mother brown bear teaches her young cubs how to find food and to survive threats, such as older male bears and wolverines. Each scrap of meat can be contested, as seen when the mother bear and a wolf fight over a meal.
- The great gray owl is a nomad in the frozen forests. These owls can fly more than 1,000 miles in search of prey, hunting for signs of movement beneath the snow. One female owl has three little owlets to keep fed, and they demand several large meals a day.
- Life in Lapland is a life of extremes. In the bleak midwinter, temperatures fall to 50 degrees below freezing and darkness lasts for weeks on end. Musk oxen survive this time of year by simply standing still; they hardly move or even feed for days at a time.
- The Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis, was once thought to be the trail of a mythical fire fox dashing through the snow. According to Finnish folklore, the hunter who catches the fox would be rich and famous.
- Orca are known as “wolves of the sea.” They have a special way of hunting herring, through a quick turn and their powerful tails sending shockwaves through the water to stun the fish. Gathering billions of herring with this technique keeps orca sustained through the long winter.