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Hundreds of Reindeer Killed by Lightning in Norway

They were apparently huddled together out of fear during a storm.

(Photo: Norwegian Environment Agency)

A ranger at Hardangervidda, in central Norway, was walking around Friday when he came upon a gruesome discovery: over 300 dead reindeer, killed, officials, think, after lightning strikes in the area. 

Norwegian authorities aren’t entirely sure the deaths were caused by lightning, but haven’t been very successful in coming up with other ways to explain the mysterious massacre. A press release on Sunday blamed lightning and recent “bad weather” in the area. 

According to the Local, the scale of the deaths may have been because reindeer tend to group together in bad weather, out of fear. But samples will now be taken from some of the animals to determine the exact cause of death.

Reindeer are most common in Siberia, not far from the North Pole. The Norwegian pack, though, were residents of Hardangervidda, a relatively southern habitat for the animals, about 150 miles to the west of Oslo.

Some 10,000 reindeer are said to make that part of the world their home, according to the Local, even if the weather doesn’t always cooperate.