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Over 300 reindeer killed in Norway lightning strike

By Staff Reporter

Published 30/08/2016

Around 300 reindeer have died following a lightning storm in central Norway in what wildlife officials described as an unusually large natural disaster.

Eerie images showing a jumble of reindeer carcasses scattered across a small area on the Hardangervidda mountain plateau have been released by the Norwegian Environment Agency.

The agency says 323 animals were killed, including 70 calves, in the lightning storm on Friday.

Agency spokesman Kjartan Knutsen said it is not uncommon for reindeer or other wildlife to be killed by lightning strikes, "but we have not heard about such numbers before".

He said reindeer tend to stay very close to each other in bad weather, which could explain how so many were killed at once.

Thousands of reindeer migrate across the Hardangervidda plateau as the seasons change.

John Jensenius, a lightning safety expert from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The Verge online magazine that the high number of deaths may be because animals tend to group together in storms and huddle under trees, which are often struck.

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