More than 300 reindeer killed by lightning strike

Andrew Cummings
August 30, 2016

If the chances of getting struck by lightning are slim, the chances of 323 reindeer getting struck by lightning must be miniscule, but that's exactly what seems to have happened on a mountain plateau in Norway.

He said the agency has now begun taking samples from the dead animals as part of a health survey.

Some of the animals will be tested at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute to determine the cause of death.

The animals' corpses were found Friday night by a ranger at Hardangervidda National Park in a small area with a diameter of between 50 and 80 meters (164 and 262 feet).


Though it is not uncommon for reindeer and other wildlife to be killed by lightning strikes, the agency said this is the deadliest known event to date.

More than 300 wild reindeer have been killed by lightning in central Norway.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 32 people have been killed by lightning in the U.S.so far this year.

I don't remember hearing about lightning killing animals on this scale before and we don't know if it was one or more lighting strikes - that would be speculation.


Hardangervidda is home to about 10,000 to 11,000 reindeer, the largest population of wild reindeer in Norway, according to the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre.

Cattle and sheep are common victims. Guinness reports that the largest recorded number of livestock killed by a single lightning bolt is 68.

Sea lions, caribou and wild turkeys have also been documented lightning victims, as have elephants, antelope, a sort-of-famous TV giraffe and a flock of 52 geese in Canada in 1932.


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