Over 300 reindeer were killed last Friday in what might be the deadliest lightning strike in known history. The animals, including 70 calves, were found in the southern part of Norway where thousands of wild reindeer migrate each year. Speculation persists that the reason so many were killed is because they would have huddled together out of fear of the storm.

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The Norwegian Nature Inspectorate (NNI) spokesperson, Knut Nylend, said, “We’ve heard about animals being struck by lightning and killed, but I don’t remember hearing about lightning killing animals on this scale before.” Nylend stumbled across the tragic scene in a private hunting area last week and says the agency has sent a team to collect samples from the fallen animals.

Related: Bad news for Santa: Reindeer populations decline as the world’s climate warms

A press release published by the Norwegian Environment Agency says 70 of the 323 reindeer found were calves. It is likely they became fearful of a thunderstorm that shook the area late last week and huddled together, resulting in what is possibly the deadliest lightning strike involving livestock. The Guinness World Records does not follow overall wildlife deaths from lightning strikes, but The Verge located a 2005 incident in which 68 Australian cows were killed by lightning.

Via The Verge

Images via Norwegian Environment Agency