Swedish reindeer have an exceptionally hard time on the country’s rail network. In the first two months alone, 400 of them were killed by trains. A record.

This is apparent from railway statistics published by the Swedish National Radio (SR) on Tuesday. Nearly three quarters of the animals (278) died on the only east-west rail link in northwestern Sweden: a route of approximately 130 kilometres between Kiruna and the border with Norway. According to the SR, the scooped animals equate to a loss of 407 tons of reindeer meat.

Reindeer are cattle for slaughter in Sweden and live in itinerant herds. It is not clear why so many animals are dying this year. On many routes, fewer trains ran this winter, because the rail stock could not withstand the extreme freezing cold. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (original published in Dutch on 15 March 2011)