People worldwide recognize the names of the animals which help Santa Claus deliver his presents – Rudolf, Dasher, Comet, Dancer, Cupid, Prancer, Donner, Blitzen and Vixen. But what do we know about these all – important bearers of gifts? Many assume that they are just 'deer', unaware that they are one of many species of the deer family to be found in different ecological niches across the world. The Real Rudolph is a factual journey into the life of the 'Real Rudolph'. From the archaeological evidence which intricately entwines reindeer and man to the myths that have created the association between Christmas and reindeer; from reindeer's extraordinary adaptation to the world's coldest climates to their reintroduction into Antarctica, this intriguing natural history reveals just what it is that makes the reindeer such a special member of the animal kingdom. Whether the wild American caribou or the domesticated reindeer of Scandinavia and Russia, the reindeer has been a vital ingredient to man's survival in the Arctic. Written by Tilly Smith, a specialist who owns the only reindeer herd in Britain, this is a fascinating and informative read. It explains the facts and myths that surround the animal everybody has heard of but few have seen.
Tilly Smith is Director and Secretary of the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre, near Aviemore – the only free-ranging reindeer herd in Britain – which she runs with her husband, Alan. She is the author of Velvet Antlers, Velvet Noses, the story of the Cairngorm herd. The Smiths, who live in Reindeer House, have two children, Alex and Fiona.