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Norway's Spate of Reindeer Killings Called 'Unprecedented'

They were victims of freight trains
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2017 9:50 AM CST

(Newser) – A reindeer herder describes himself as "dizzy with anger" after freight trains barreled into more than 100 reindeer in Norway over three days, killing 106. Torstein Appfjell, who Sky News reports oversees about 2,000 reindeer, calls the deaths "totally tragic" and frames that toll in that period as "unprecedented." Appfjell says the deadliest day was Saturday, when 65 were killed, reports the AP. Deutsche Welle has this tough detail: Per a documentary filmmaker who was on the scene, some animals were not killed upon impact and had to be shot.

The animals are undertaking their winter migration, which sees them travel from mountainous pastures to the coast in search of food. It's a perilous journey, and deaths are not uncommon. Though Appfjell says train accidents previously killed a maximum of 250 reindeer over 12 months, Deutsche Welle reports a far higher toll, saying 2,000 have lost their lives along the northern railway line over the 2013 to 2016 period. Suggestions that a fence be added along the line have gone nowhere due to a lack of funding, though train drivers have now been told to reduce their speeds in the area. (More than 300 reindeer lost their lives in a very different kind of accident last year.)

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