The reindeer, whose name has been confirmed as Smokey, is four years old - he was darted by a vet from London on Sunday 24th January. He is now back in captivity at the Reindeer Lodge in Wales.

What’s the issue?

Go Santa, based at Go Outside in Formby woods, hosted a new festive attraction in December, which was created as a completely Covid-secure socially-distanced event. If animals can be used to make money, even during a pandemic, they will be! That was the take-away message of this event, however, organisers certainly weren’t planning on dealing with a very spirited reindeer who desperately desired his freedom.

One such reindeer, who we believe to be named Alfie and was supplied by the Reindeer Lodge, had much more elaborate plans beyond featuring in a Covid-Christmas event. When the opportunity arose, this fella took it and ran.

Alfie has been sighted every day in the Formby area since the 23rd December when he first made a break for it and escaped. From a number of photos, he also looks to be in velvet, which is an uncomfortable and sensitive time of year for these animals when they develop their antlers. We can only imagine how frightened he must be, and yet, he seems quite determined to hang onto his newfound freedom! Well, we don’t blame you Alfie.

Festive Events Campaigner Rehana Jomeen commented:

It wasn't such a long time ago that we as a society condoned tigers jumping through hoops of fire and elephants performing outlandish tricks for our entertainment. Now such acts are widely condemned as cruelty to animals, so there is definitely hope that the use of reindeer in festive events will be resigned to our history books before not too long also.

It is high time we stopped seeing reindeer being dragged about the UK from pillar to post for a cheap Christmas thrill. These highly sensitive, unique, semi-wild animals deserve better and we need your help to make sure that happens.

How can you help Alfie and other reindeer like him?

1. Email Go Outside in Formby woods, asking them to pledge not to host reindeer events again.

2. Please donate to our Release Rudolph appeal, to fuel the fight to protect reindeer!