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Heavy Blow! Over 300 Reindeer Killed by Lightning Strike in Norway

Aug 31, 2016 04:10 AM EDT

Norwegian national park officials reported that a lightning at a national park killed more than 300 wild reindeer

According to National Geographic, a total of 323 carcasses were found in the Hardangervidda National Park where the largest number of wild reindeer resides in the 8,000 square kilometers (3,088 square miles) space. The reindeer population in the park is estimated at 10,000 to 11,000 wild reindeer.

The dead animals were found by an agency inspector working at the Norwegian Environment Agency after a storm that occurred during the weekend. It is suspected that the herd was killed by a single stroke of lightning that happened last weekend. The same inspector also saw five reindeer still alive, but they had to euthanize it.

Pictures released by the Norwegian Environment Agency show that the reindeer seem to have fallen over from the mountain plateau of Hardanggervida. It is also possible that due to the severe thunderstorm, the reindeer huddled together up in the highest part of the park called Hardanggervida, where they were stroke by lightning.

In an article on CNN, Kjartan Knutsen, agency's spokesperson, said that they have never experienced such a large number of dead reindeer before. He even said that even though there are cases of wild animals getting killed by lightning, the agency has never seen that many animals killed at once.

According to Knutsen, they usually don't remove dead wild animals from the wild, but the agency is already thinking of other options of moving them because of the amount of carcasses. The agency also has started getting samples from the dead reindeer for a health survey. Knutsen also said they know that these reindeer was killed by lightning but this testing is for science.

It is not relatively new for a group of animals to be hit by lightning and die because of it. In an article posted by National Geographic, Steve Goodman, a scientist with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's Satellite Service said, "I've heard of groups of cow [getting killed] when it strikes the ground," He added, "The lightning can spread for hundreds and hundreds of meters, for sure."

Goodman added that Norway is not much prone to ruthless lightning. In fact, southern Norway witness "fewer than one lightning strike per square kilometre" based in the satellite data from NASA's Global Hydrology Research Center.

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