According to the Norwegian Environment Agency, 323 wild reindeer, including 70 calves, were killed on the Hardangervidda mountain plateau during a violent storm. A ranger found the dead animals later in the day, all lying close to each other. Five of the injured animals also had to be put down.

The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) said they have never seen anything like it before. Reindeer are social creatures and often go in packs. They were probably standing close to each other when lightning struck.

Samples have been taken from some of the animals and will now be studied by researchers. Norwegian authorities still have to decide if they can leave the dead animals on the plateau and 'let nature do her job' or if they have to be removed.

There are about 10,000 wild reindeer on Hardangervidda with thousands migrating across the barren plateau as the seasons change.