A Norwegian train smashed into a herd of reindeer in the country’s Arctic region Wednesday, killing 17 animals, days after similar incidents led to the death of more than 100 reindeer.
Thor Braekkan of Norwegian rail operator Bane NOR said the latest collision occurred 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) south of where some 65 reindeer were mowed down Saturday. The company blamed the earlier crash on a lack of communication with freight train drivers.
Jonas Paulsen, an employee with Bane NOR whose job includes cleaning up after animal collisions, said the reindeer stand little chance. “The first thing we meet can be decapitated heads and severed limbs,” he told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
The speed at which trains move was immediately reduced along a 32-kilometer (20-mile) stretch of Norway’s longest railroad between Trondheim, central Norway, and Bodo, just north of the Arctic Circle. Previously the speed was reduced along a 2-kilometer (1.2-mile) stretch, Braekkan said.
The cause of Wednesday’s collision was not immediately known. However, the state-owned company has said it earlier had failed to inform train drivers about the presence of the animals on the tracks and hence the need to reduce speed. Reindeer have been hit eight times between November 22 and 25, resulting in the death of 110 animals.
Since 2013, a total of 3,372 reindeer, sheep and moose have been killed along the 729-kilometer (453-mile) railroad line, according to NRK.
Siri Martinsen, head of Norwegian animal rights group NOAH, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK “when it happens over and over again for several years, maybe it’s not enough to just regret it.”
Martinsen added they would file a complaint with the police in an attempt to ensure somebody is held responsible.
After the recent incidents, Bane NOR said it would build a 25-kilometer (15.5-mile) fence along the stretch where most of accidents occurred, and extend an already existing, albeit shorter fence. Total cost is estimated to be 34 million kroner ($4.15 million).
“We have great understanding why reindeer-owners and others react strongly at what has happened,” Bane NOR executive Vibeke Aarnes said in a statement.