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REINDEER

‘Over 100’ reindeer killed in days by Norway freight trains

More than 100 reindeer have been killed by freight trains in northern Norway in recent days in what has been called a "bloodbath" during their winter migration.

'Over 100' reindeer killed in days by Norway freight trains
Photo: John Erling Utsi / NTB scanpix

One train killed 65 deer on a track on Saturday while 41 died between Wednesday and Friday, broadcaster NRK reported on Sunday.

“I'm so angry that I'm dizzy,” owner of the 65 dead reindeer, Ole Henrik Kappfjell, told NRK.

“It's a senseless animal tragedy…a psychological nightmare,” he added.

Norway is home to around 250,000 semi-domestic reindeer and most of them live in the nation's far north.

At this time of the year, herders take the reindeer to the winter pastures in search for grazing grounds, a perilous journey as many animals are hit by cars and trains. Some also drown.

Photos taken by documentary filmmaker Jon Erling Utsi showed dead reindeer lying in the blood-stained snow. Some were shot because they were wounded after Saturday's incident.

“It was a nightmare to watch,” Utsi told NRK.

“The worst thing was the animals that were not killed in the accident, they were lying there, suffering, it was a bloodbath over several kilometres,” he added.

More than 2,000 reindeer were run over along the same northern railway line between 2013 and 2016.

The herders are demanding the railway operator install a fence along the track but there has so far been no funding.

READ ALSO: Norway and Sweden in quarrel over grazing reindeer

WEATHER

Record Arctic heat drives reindeer into cool tunnels

Norwegian authorities have urged motorists to watch out for reindeer that are seeking refuge in tunnels to cool themselves amid extreme heat in the nation's far north.

Record Arctic heat drives reindeer into cool tunnels
File photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB scanpix

“It has been very hot for weeks in northern Norway,” Tore Lysberg, a senior official at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, told AFP on Thursday.

“The animals retreat to colder places, both reindeer and sheep find refuge in tunnels and shaded areas to cool down,” he said.

Although this phenomenon is nothing new, it could be intensified by record temperatures in Norway's northernmost regions.

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute posted a temperature of 31.2 degrees Celsius on Wednesday in Finnmark, a major reindeer herding region located within the Arctic Circle.

The region is so hot that it has experienced 12 “tropical” nights with evening temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius so far this year, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration said no serious accidents involving animals have been reported yet but described the situation as “a challenge”.

The government agency, which has multiplied its messages to raise awareness among motorists, should be helped by the weather, which is expected to return towards normal starting this weekend.

READ ALSO: Norwegians warned not to eat oysters after bacteria outbreak