Nearly an entire flock of wild sheep that roamed on an island in northern Norway, just across the Vestfjord from the scenic Lofoten peninsula, were found drowned late last week, and no one seems to know why. Local sheep ranchers are calling the discovery of 104 sheep cadavers a “tragedy” and a “mystery.”
The mass drowning occurred on the island of Engeløy in Nordland County, after something apparently scared the herd of 107 sheep into the sea. Only three survived.
“We don’t know what can have caused them to try to swim, whether they were scared by a predator, by a dog or surprised by a high tide or something else,” Ståle Kjelstrup, a co-owner of the flock, told local website nord-salten.no (external link, in Norwegian).
His partner Saara Rasinkangas-Kjelstrup had gone to the island to check on the sheep after finding another dead animal they had grazing on another local island, Løvøya. Kjelstrup said they’ve tended sheep on the islands for years and never had a problem, and never experienced sheep heading into the water. “So this is very strange, and a great loss,” Kjelstrup said.