Lightning Kills 323 Norwegian Reindeer at Once

Shaunacy Ferro

Never underestimate the power of a lightning storm. A powerful storm that struck the Hardangervidda mountain plateau in southern Norway on August 26 killed more than 300 reindeer at once, CBC News reports.

The Norwegian Environment Agency posted photos of the scene, which looks like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie. It’s not unusual for reindeer to be struck by lightning, as a spokesman for the agency told the Associated Press, but this was a particularly deadly storm. The reindeer had likely huddled together during the storm, making them an even larger target for lightning.

Some 2000 reindeer visit the plateau each year. It’s unclear whether it was the work of a single strike or multiple, but around 70 calves were killed in the storm. All 323 bodies remain scatted in the grass, though researchers from the Norwegian Environment Agency took samples to test the bodies for disease. Normally, they would be left to let nature do its work, but since the storm was so deadly, the agency is discussing whether or not to move the corpses.

[h/t CBC News]

All images courtesy Havard Kjøntvedt, Norwegian Environment Agency