Another 17 reindeer were run over and killed by a train on Wednesday, after they’d wandered onto open railroad tracks while grazing in north central Norway. The latest in a string of animal tragedies occurred just as state authorities sat in a meeting with state railroad Bane Nor in an effort to prevent them.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that a cargo train crashed into a herd of reindeer between Trofors and Eiterstrøm in Helgeland, Nordland County. There’d been no warning this time from the reindeers’ herder, so the train was traveling at normal speed.
Trains otherwise have been traveling at reduced speed in the area after a total of 106 free-grazing reindeer were killed in three separate accidents last week. Authorities from Norway’s food and animal safety agency Mattilsynet have been meeting with Bane Nor, the state agency in charge of railroad infrastructure in Norway, in an effort to prevent such collisions but may still file charges.
A Mattilsynet official told NRK earlier on Wednesday, however, that it was difficult to determine responsibility for the bloody collisions: Bane Nor has been repeatedly asked to set up fences along the tracks without having done so, railway agency NSB’s trains are expected to be operated safely and with a clear recognition of risks, while the reindeer herders are responsible for their animals’ safety and well-being.
In the meantime, Norwegian animal rights organization NOAH reported Wednesday that it would file a complaint against Bane NOR with state police, on the grounds the railroad hasn’t done enough to keep grazing animals away from the tracks. “These situations are something that everyone’s sorry about, but they occur again and again,” veterinarian and NOAH leader Siri Martinsen told NRK. “Then we have to place the responsibility somethere.”
“This is all just enormously tragic,” Bane NOR spokesperson Randi Folke Olsen told NRK. She said railroad officials are upset about what’s happened, were working to prevent more tragedies and had now reduced speed limits on a 32-kilometer stretch of its northern line Nordlandsbanen at all times.