With Christmas just around the corner, we delved into the National Geographic photo archive to take a closer look at the animal that helps pull Santa's sleigh.
Reindeer—which are called caribou in North America—play an important role in Christmas folklore. But the deer is more than mere myth.
In the Arctic, indigenous peoples such as the Nenets rely on reindeer for food, transportation, and clothing year-round. Wild reindeer—which live in Scandinavia, Siberia, Greenland, Alaska, and Canada—also benefit their ecosystems. For instance, they serve as prey for polar bears and wolves. (Watch video: "Walking With Reindeer.")