Lightning Storm Kills Hundreds of Wild Reindeer in Norway

More than 300 reindeer carcasses found in Norway after a lightning storm.

— -- A lightning storm killed more than 300 reindeer in Norway over the weekend, according to the Norwegian Environment Agency, which released photos of reindeer carcasses lining the Hardangervidda mountain plateau.

The Norwegian Nature Inspectorate (also known by its Norwegian acronym SNO) said that 323 animals died, of which 70 were calves. Of the 323 dead, five reindeer had to be euthanized by the SNO.

The SNO and representatives from the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research visited the area on Sunday and extracted samples from the animals, the SNO said in a statement.

"We have not heard about such numbers before," Kjartan Knutsen, a spokesman for the Norwegian Environment Agency told The Associated Press, though he said it is not uncommon for reindeer to be killed by lightning strikes.

"I don't know if there were several lighting strikes," Knutsen added. "But it happened in one moment."

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.