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Norway’s Environment Directorate reported on August 28 that 323 caribou were killed by a lightning strike on the mountain plateau of Hardangervidda.

Lightning strike kills 323 reindeer

Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Monday, August 29, 2016, 11:47 AM - Lightning has apparently killed some 323 reindeer in Norway, according to the country's Environment Directorate.

They were apparently killed during a strong storm on Friday, later found by wildlife officers sent to supervise hunting activity in the Hardangervidda mountain plateau. Among the dead were 70 calves, and the officers also euthanized four animals.

The dead reindeer were scattered over an area of around 50 m. A spokesman told the Associated Press it's not unusual for reindeer to cluster together during poor weather, though its uncommon for this many to be killed by lightning at once.

"I don't know if there were several lighting strikes, but it happened in one moment," Kjartan Knutsen said on Monday.

Image: Norwegian Environment Directorate.

RELATED: Melting ice releases live anthrax trapped in deer since WWII

Lightning is a very real threat to life and property, which is why meteorologists warn the public to be mindful of severe thunderstorms.

In Germany earlier this year, more than 70 people were hospitalized after a lightning strike at a rock festival. In India, more than 90 people were killed over two days in June.

Closer to home, a 52-year-old man was struck by lightning near London, Ont., in late July. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead in hospital.

Lightning kills an average of up to 10 people a year in Canada, according to Environment Canada.

SOURCE: Norwegian Environment Directorate | Associated Press | Environment Canada

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