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Lightning Strike Kills More than 300 Reindeer in Norway

  • Associated Press

Dead wild reindeer are seen on Hardangervidda in Norway, after lightning struck the central mountain plateau and killed more than 300 of them, in this handout photo received on August 28, 2016. (Credit: Havard Kjotvedt/SNO/Miljodirektoratet/NTB Scanpix)

Dead wild reindeer are seen on Hardangervidda in Norway, after lightning struck the central mountain plateau and killed more than 300 of them, in this handout photo received on August 28, 2016. (Credit: Havard Kjotvedt/SNO/Miljodirektoratet/NTB Scanpix)

More than 300 wild reindeer have been killed by lighting in central Norway in what wildlife officials are calling an unusually large natural disaster.

The Norwegian Environment Agency has released eerie images showing a jumble of reindeer carcasses scattered across a small area on the Hardangervidda mountain plateau. The agency says 323 animals were killed, including 70 calves, in the lightning storm Friday.

Agency spokesman Kjartan Knutsen told the AP it's 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 barren Hardanangervidda plateau as the seasons change.

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