It’s definitely a white Christmas in Norway. Mads Nordsveen, 24, a Norwegian photographer, was taking a hike and encountered a rare sight: a white reindeer calf. Reindeer are a somewhat common sight in the wilderness, but they usually do not have white coats of fur.
According to some Scandinavian traditions, seeing a white reindeer is considered to be a sign of good luck. The photographer almost didn’t get a photograph of the reindeer calf, as its white fur nearly perfectly blended in with the fallen snow all over the ground.
White reindeers are incredibly rare, even in Scandinavian countries. The white fur is not from albinism, but is caused by a genetic condition that strips the pigment from the fur to appear completely white.
According to Nordsveen, he was walking in the mountains when the reindeer calf actually approached him in a clearing. He stayed still and just raised his camera to take some photos, and the calf came within a few feet of him. He described the animal as “curious” and “posing for the camera” once the calf deemed him not a threat.
“He came to me very close and we looked into each other’s eyes,” Nordsveen said, and the calf acted like “a little explorer.” The calf stayed near for a few minutes, allowing Nordsveen to take multiple close up photographs.
The photographs he posted have since gone viral on social media. The post has over 30,000 likes on Facebook as of Monday morning. The last time a white-furred animal was spotted in Norway was in 2016, and it was a white stag in Mala.
After the pictures were taken, the calf slowly walked back into the forest, where its mother was waiting for him. Nordsveen described the encounter as “very magical” and like a “fairytale moment.” The beautiful photos are incredibly detailed and beautiful.