Freight trains in Norway kills more than 100 reindeer

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In just the last few days, more than 100 reindeer have been killed by freight trains in Norway, sparking an outcry by animal advocates to erect a barrier during the animals’ migratory period. According to the Guardian, in what has been called a senseless tragedy in  Mosjøen, at least 65 reindeer were killed on Saturday alone.

Reindeer herder, Torstein Appfjell called the deaths “totally tragic and unprecedented” and was described as “dizzy with anger,” stating the deaths of the animals have been the worst 12-month period in the area accounting for 250 deaths in the last year. More than 2,000 reindeer were hit along the same northern railway line between 2013 and 2016.

Led by their herders, the reindeer have been migrating from summer pastures in the mountain regions to the coast, however many of the animals get caught on the train tracks. Residents in the area want barriers erected to thwart the animals from getting too close to the tracks.

The train company, Bane NOR, has since reduced speeds in the area, but it is doubtful that the amount of deaths will be reduced based on past occurrences. Warning for trains to decrease their speeds in areas with a huge migration population have not reached the train operators in time.

According to Norway, the country is home to about 250,000 semi-domestic reindeer and most of them live in the far north of the country. The disturbing photos show the dead and dying reindeer lying in the blood-stained snow. Documentary filmmaker Jon Erling Utsi called the scene a “nightmare.”

“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.

The herders are demanding that the railway operator install a fence along the track, however thus far there has not been any funding.

(Photo via screenshot by John Erling)

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5 replies
  1. Debbie Gilliam says:

    This is a massacre…..this area has been a home to the reindeer every since forever…..then man comes in & destroys it……why can’t man leave animals alone…..single handedly come in and build and build and build, until there is no where for animals to live, to graze, to have their babies and to feel safe. Please protect these reindeer for the trains…..

  2. Bunny Peters says:

    OMG: a terrible situation…… those poor animals…… they have been migrating along the same routes far longer than the railway has existed……

    Year after year, needless deaths (& a “slow down” message to train operators is very helpful….. NOT…….)…..

    It seems to me that the railway company has the responsibility and resources to install safety measures (either raise the train tracks through the migration zone or install crossing areas for migrating animals).

    Why this hasn’t been done is clear: profits over the lives of the reindeer and their herders…… absolutely disgusting……

  3. Nancy Raymond says:

    This is pitiful that these animals are put in such danger and basically nothing is done to prevent this from continuing – a fund needs to be set so this tragedy does not happen again – the reindeer do not know the danger and humans should step up to end this.

  4. Adrienne says:

    What is the government going to do about this since the railroad doesn’t seem to want to find a solution (which has happened before).Senseless killings that could have easily been avoided if they had kept the animals from the tracks or some type of barrier up. Hope the government officials listen finally so this doesn’t happen again.


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