‘We’ve never had anything like this with lightning’
Monday, the Norwegian Environment Agency announced a disturbing discovery in the Hardangervidda mountain plateau region. A freak lightning storm killed 323 reindeer, 70 of which were calves. Only five reindeer survived the strike but they were found in serious condition and put down immediately. Although lightning strikes are known to kill the occasional elk or deer, the area has never seen anything like this before. “The high moisture in both the ground and the air was probably an explanation for why so many animals died,” Olav Strand, senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, said in a statement.
Officials are unsure whether it was one bolt of lightning or multiple strikes that caused the destruction. Reindeer tend to huddle together during inclement weather which could explain why so many were affected. In addition, the area was extremely wet which probably increased the lightning’s conductivity. Although officials have made no statement about how they will clean up the carcasses, it’s presumed they’ll let nature take its course.