106 reindeer killed in collisions with Norwegian freight trains

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OLSO, Norway — More than 100 reindeer have been killed in northern Norway as a result of an "unprecedented" spate of collisions with freight trains.

State newspaper NRK reported that 106 animals have been killed in the Helgeland region in a four-day period while attempting to cross a particular stretch of tracks. The reindeer often cross the tracks at that crossing while migrating in search of warmer coastal pastures. It is normal for a few dozen reindeer to be hit and killed by trains each year, but train operator Nor Bane blames the increase on a communication breakdown that prevented herder's reports about the reindeer's whereabouts from reaching train operators.

“The message was added to the system. Unfortunately, this message never reached the train due to a technical failure,” Bane Nor regional director Thor Brækkan told NKR.

The high number of deaths is devastating for individuals who make their livelihood herding reindeer. Last Saturday alone, 65 reindeer were killed in collisions with trains.

"This is a tragedy for me and the three other herders,” Torstein Appfjell, a herd leader working in the area, told Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, “[The reindeer] mean almost everything to us.”

Appfjell and other herders have called for Bane Nor to erect fences around the tracks to prevent future collisions.

See the original article online.
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