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Bison Struck by Lighting is Alive and Well

posted: 01/08/16
by: Danny Clemens
Sparky the bison
Karen Viste-Sparkman/USFWS

After surviving a major lightning strike in 2013, aptly named bison Sparky appears to have made a full recovery, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service says.

In a blog post, the agency explains that keepers found Sparky standing alone in the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge, having sustained a major burn that removed hair from the animal's hump and left a large exit wound.

"Since a lightning strike is something that could easily occur in wild bison anywhere, the refuge let nature take its course. There are no natural predators in the bison area, so injured bison are monitored regularly and euthanized if they're unable to eat or walk," USFWS public affairs specialist Courtney Celley says.

Related: Lightning Strikes Jetliner at Atlanta Airport

Sparky wasn't ready to give up quite yet -- although he initially had a limp, the tenacious creature now "stands strong" and may have even fathered more calves (pre-strike, he had already fathered three offspring).

Lightning strikes have been known to cause mass fatalities of grazing animals. When a tree is struck by lightning, the resulting ground current can be lethal -- in Uganda, a single lightning storm killed more than 50 grazing cows that were seeking shelter underneath of trees.

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