LULEA, Sweden, Nov. 13 (UPI) — A herd of more than 400 reindeer drowned Friday in a river in Jokkmokk, Sweden, after the thin ice on the river’s surface gave way, a local official said.
Bertil Kielatis, chairman of the Sirges Sami village in Jokkmokk, said the incident occurred as nearly 3,000 animals were being herded across the river in northern Sweden by reindeer herders, The Local reported Friday.
The animals were being taken across the river so they could be relocated to their winter pastures, Kielatis said.
“The ice suddenly gave way and hundreds of reindeer fell into the water,” Kielatis said.
“Now we are working to recover the animals that have drowned,” he added.
Kielatis told The Local there was nothing unusual about the animal relocation effort, which will prove costly for local herders because of the accident.
“It’s a tragedy in many ways,” Kielatis said. “Not only for the reindeer that suffered but for the herders who were helpless to save their animals.”
Copyright 2009 by United Press International