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In a controversial decision, Norway’s agriculture minister has said he would have 2,200 wild reindeer killed in the country’s southern mountain region of Nordfjella in an attempt to stop chronic wasting disease, public broadcaster NRK reported Monday.
“It is perhaps the hardest decision I have taken as minister for agriculture and I am sure many will question it,” Jon Georg Dale was quoted as saying.
Dale is acting on the advice of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority who told his ministry to quickly slaughter all reindeer in Nordfjella to stop the spread of the illness, NRK reported.
“This is a difficult decision, because we know that we are most likely to get new reindeer with the disease. It is, however, still necessary to eradicate the infection in the area,” he said.
The minister emphasized that the professional advice from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, the Norwegian Veterinary Institute and the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety was so clear that he believed it was an unavoidable decision.
“I have had a meeting with all three of the agencies more than once to make sure there are no other options,” Dale said.
The three agencies wrote that the chance of successfully eliminating the disease would be significantly reduced if the slaughter had not been completed within a year.
The exterminations will probably start during summer this year, he announced.
“I will not, finally, conclude how we choose to do this. It is possible to look into several ways, either with hunting, combining hunting and mobile slaughterhouse, or just the last,” Dale said.
In addition, a concrete plan must be prepared as to how to reconstruct the wild reindeer herd as quickly as possible.
The wild reindeer herd in Nordfjella consists of an estimated 2,200 animals, which makes up 10 percent of the Norwegian wild reindeer herd.
Chronic wasting disease was detected last year in three wild reindeer in Nordfjella and in two moose in the county of South Trondelag. There are no other known cases of the disease in Europe.
Courtesy of news.xinhuanet.com
Photo By @techcredo
If the chances of getting struck by lightning are slim, the chances of 323 reindeer getting struck by lightning must be minuscule, but that’s exactly what seems to have happened on a mountain plateau in Norway.
When Knut Nylend, an official from the Norwegian Nature Inspectorate (Statens naturoppsyn – NNI) went out on a routine inspection near Hardangervidda National Park on Friday, he wasn’t expecting to see hundreds of dead reindeer lying across a field.
All of the reindeer – both adults and calves – were found within a radius of just 50 meters (165 feet).
Although the flock was found in a hunting area, it was clear that the reindeer hadn’t been shot. NNI officials believe they were struck by lightning during a powerful storm that passed through the area.
“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. We don’t know if it was one or more lighting strike; that would only be speculation,” Nylend said.
The unusual occurrence was enough to prompt other NNI employees to fly to the off-the-beaten-path area, which is located on a plateau between Møsvatn and Kalhovd in Telemark.
“We sent up a team of eight people to take samples to be sent to the Norwegian Veterinary Institute for research. Then we will know for sure how the animals died,” said Nylend.
The animals will be tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD), which was found in reindeer earlier this year. However, authorities are almost certain that the animals were killed by a lightning strike, due to their extremely close proximity to one another.
Officials have not yet determined whether the reindeer corpses will be removed from the area or left where they are. The site is desolate, located a sizable distance away from the nearest mountains trail.
Much of the plateau is protected as part of Hardangervidda National Park, which is home to approximately 10,000 reindeer, making it Norway’s largest wild reindeer range.
Courtesy of rt.com
Rasdød: Photo Svarthø landslide where 245 reindeer died
Animal tragedy happened in Oppdals part of Trollheimen, specifically in the area south of Storhornet, was discovered Wednesday afternoon.
Two local residents, Day Jørund Vik and John Bjorndal, wanted to see the extent of the landslide and took a trip inland area that day.
– We had heard about exceeded and wondered how big it was. We discovered that animals were taken and notified reindeer owner, says Vik Adresseavisen.
Animal tragedy is also featured in a number of other media including local newspapers Opdalingen and Up and NRK Sor-Trondelag.
In the spring
Exceeded proved about one mile wide and nearly as far. It is estimated that there is about 120,000 cubic meters of snow.
That means that between 30,000 and 40,000 tons has swept across and brought all or most of the reindeer herd on a few hundred animals that went on winter in the area.
Thursday – three to four days later – was four animals who still lived, unearthed by the snow of herder Gustav Kant and crews had been called.
Three of the animals were so severely injured that they had to be euthanized. The fourth, a doe, was in such good shape that she speeded and disappeared into the mountains.
Rein owner and his aides have so far unearthed 35-40 dead animals from snowpack given to have a depth of between two and nine yards.
The dead animals lay partly on the surface and partly they were buried in the snow. The rest is probably well down in the snow and many of them will hardly be found until the snow melts in the spring.
Avalanche danger in the mountains was great last weekend and it was no shortage of warnings associated with extreme weather “Ole”. Monday went another major landslide in Skar Brook valley in Oppdal. This was triggered by a snow groomers who ran track preparation.
It is not the first time that an animal tragedy like this in Trollheimen. As late as in 2013 lost the same Herders 40-50 animals in a similar landslide. This happened in the valley south of Åmellomfjellet, also in the area southwest of Storhornet.
The tragedy, however, was not discovered until June, when the snow melted and the people who live in the area discovered all åtseleterne circling in the area.
Over the past 10 years there has also been several other ras Trollheimen where a smaller number of animals are killed.
A similar tragedy happened moreover in the area by Svarthø Snøhetta reindeer area in 2006. This exceeded took at least 245 animals, including many pregnant females.
Courtesy of Jan Arve Ødegård