Lightning strike kills 550 sheep!

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Nikolay Levanov, a Georgian shepherd, received a phone call from his assistant sheepherder that informed him over a hundred of his sheep had been killed in a lightning strike that occured during a chaotic thunder storm. Mr. Levanov was not aware that another 400 sheep had also been killed in the same thunderstorm. During the thunderstorm, the sheepherder was also knocked unconscious. However, shepherd Levanov was able to recover later. Photographs from the southern region of the country of Georgia show hundreds of dead sheep spread throughout the high pasture.

A total of 550 sheep were cremated on August 12. The animals were burned on-site because the mountainous terrain made it difficult to transport them to another location. It is currently unclear if the owners have been compensated for their loss. A similar incident happened in Norway in 2016. A herd of around 300 reindeer were found dead in a remote area of the countryside. Scattered reindeer corpses were discovered on the barren Hardangervidda plateau in the southern part of the country of Georgia as well. Until the recent sheep incident, that lightning strike was described as the deadliest lightning strike ever recorded in modern times.

Mr. Levanov and other sheep owners have taken the action of requesting financial assistance from the authorities. However, the scientific commission must determine if lightning was definitely the cause of death. The deputy mayor of the town Ninotsminda, Alexander Mikeladze, spoke about the unfortunate events and said, “To be honest, this is the first such case. We have not heard that a thunderstorm could kill so many sheep.” 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. Presumably this most likely would have occured due to the wool on the sheep being a good electric insulator because wool fibres have a waxy coating. When you rub two dissimilar materials together, it’s possible for charges to get pulled off of the surface of one material and onto the surface of the other. This is the reason you get “static shocks” like what you experience when you rub your socks on the carpet and touch something or someone or in this situation a lethal shock that transferred from one sheep to another really fast because of their wool attracting the lightning and how close together they were when the lightning strike occurred.

Robson, K. (2021, August 21). Farmer’s horror after Finding 550 sheep killed by a single lightning strike. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from