Lightning strike kills hundreds of reindeer

A freak lightning strike left more than 300 reindeer dead in Norway.  It happened on Friday when a thunderstorm crossed over the Telemark area.

The Norwegian Environment Agency says 320 of the animals died and 70 of them were calves.  Five others needed to be put down due to the severity of the injuries.

Agency spokesman Kjartan Knutsen said it's not uncommon for reindeer or other wildlife to be killed by lightning strikes but this was an unusually deadly event.

"We have not heard about such numbers before," he said.

He said reindeer tend to stay very close to each other in bad weather, which could explain how so many were killed at once.

"I don't know if there were several lightning strikes," he said. "But it happened in one moment."

Knutsen said the agency is now discussing what to do with the dead animals. Normally, they are just left where they fall to let nature take its course, he said.

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