Rare incident: More than 300 wild reindeer killed by single lightning strike in southern Norway

19:02 Aug. 29, 2016

More than 300 wild reindeer killed by single lightning strike in southern Norway

This image shows some of the more than 300 wild reindeer that were killed by lighting in Hardangervidda, central Norway on Friday Aug. 26, 2016 (Havard Kjotvedt /Norwegian Environment Agency, NTB scanpix, via AP)

All the dead animals were found in the radius of just 50 meters. The incident happened on August 26 in Hardangervidda National Park

Reindeer are often close together. During a heavy thunderstorm, frightened animals may have gathered even closer. This is the reason why all these animals were injured at one time.

"We believe all reindeer were killed as a result of one single powerful lightning strike, because of the way they were positioned," said Elin Fosshaug Olsø, a spokeswoman for the Norwegian Environment Agency. "This is a unique rare incident and the experts have never seen such a large number of animals killed by lightning at once making it deadliest lightning strike ever recorded."

Read more Spectacular lightning draws tourists to Venezuela lake

On the contrary, John Jensenius, a lightning safety expert from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, thinks that it isn't that unusual to see farm animals, or wild animals such as reindeer, being killed by lightning. "Of course, 323 is a rather large number, though we've seen reports of 654 sheep being killed in one spot, " he says.

Hardangervidda National Park is one of the largest wild reindeer range. Thousands of reindeer migrate over this area and move around in larger and smaller herds depending on the weather.

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