Lightning Strike Instantly Kills 550 Grazing Sheep

Georgian media recently released disturbing footage of over 500 sheep killed by a single lightning strike while grazing on a mountain pasture in Ninotsminda, southern Georgia.

According to news reports, on August 9th, Nikolay Levanov, a sheep owner from the village of Tambovka, received a distressing phone call from his sheepherder telling him that over a hundred of his sheep had been killed in a thunderstorm. What Levanov didn’t know was that along with his own flock, nearly 400 other sheep had been killed by the same lightning strike. Luckily, the sheepherder himself had only been knocked unconscious by the lightning and eventually recovered.

Photo: Jnews

Shocking video footage shot at the scene of the extremely rare phenomenon shows hundreds of sheep carcasses spread over a green pasture on Mount Abul, a popular sheep grazing area in southern Georgia. Levanov and the other sheep owners have appealed to Georgian authorities for financial assistance to mitigate their losses, but the official response was that a scientific commission first had to establish the exact cause of death of the sheep.

“To be honest, this is the first such case. We have not heard that a thunderstorm could kill so many sheep,” the deputy mayor of Ninotsminda, Alexander Mikeladze, said. “Of course, the mayor’s office will provide support, but first, the farmer himself must bring the opinion of experts in order to accurately determine the cause of the mass death.”


On August 12, it was announced that the 550 sheep were to be burned on-site, as the difficult terrain made transporting them off the mountain impossible. It’s unclear if the owners were compensated in any way.

Another similar incident occurred in 2016, in Norway, when a herd of about 300 reindeer was found dead in a remote area of the barren Hardanangervidda plateau. At the time, the lightning strike was described as one of the deadliest ever.

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