A terribly violent lightning storm killed over 300 wild reindeer in an isolated region southwest of Oslo, Norway, officials said in a press release on Sunday. The lighting strike is considered to be the largest fatal incident for the park's reindeer known to date.
Carcasses of 323 reindeer were discovered strewn about the Hardanger plateau on Friday, some lying over each other with entangled antlers. The plateau is located in a private hunting area which is home to approximately 10,000 reindeer which migrate across the land each year, one of Europe’s largest populations of the species.
Speculations have been raised that the massive death toll may have been caused by them huddling together during the thunderstorm, which is the social animals’ natural reaction to turbulent weather. Other experts have suggested that the high moisture levels in the ground and air likely caused this many reindeer to die when lethally combined with the electric storm.
Kjartan Knutsen, from Norway’s nature surveillance agency, said that to see this many reindeer struck down by lightning is unprecedented. Of the storm’s violence, he said, “We’ve never had anything like this with lightning.”
The images of the reindeer carcasses are reminders of nature’s power and that even the most robust of earth’s creatures are not immune to natural disasters.
Banner photo credit: Reuters