Tuesday, September 2, 2014

King & Queen of the Forest

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Alces alces, the Eurasian elk (or moose in North America) is the largest living species in the deer family. Here in Sweden it is often called the King of the Forest.

The number of elks/moose was in decline in Sweden back in the 1800s; but has since increased again, and it is not an endangered species here now. It is estimated that there are about 400 000 of them in our forests in the summertime; of which about 25% are shot each autumn in the annual elk-hunt in September-October. (The exact time period for the hunt and the number of animals to be killed is regulated separately for each district.)

There are quite a few traffic accidents each year caused
by collisions between cars and elks crossing the road.

For some people the elk-hunt is a very important annual event. I can’t recall any hunters among my family or close friends; but whenever the topic comes up, my thoughts always go to a workmate at one of my early jobs (where I was a secretary, and he was one of the engineers), who always used to take a week off this time of year for the hunt.

The ones in the pictures above will be safe from the hunt though, as they live in the zoo!

11 comments:

  1. They are magnificent. I wish we had them wandering here. there are reindeer but I find them very hard to find. These being bigger could solve my problem.

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    1. If too close to an elk you're likely to find its size causing rather than solving problems, Adrian...

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  2. I wonder why anyone would want to kill animals like these. What sort of sick mind murders them for fun? So there are occasionally car accidents. So ... nobody goes out and kills the drivers of the cars just for fun. (Well, I hope not.)

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    1. Louise, wildlife preservation is in no way my area of expertise; but as I said, the elk hunt is strictly regulated. It takes place during a limited time, and hunters have to have a license, and sign up to be in a team etc to be allowed to take part. Each team can only shoot a certain number of animals, and all have to be accounted for (and the meat is used for food). The number is decided according to how many animals there are in the area, and how many the authorities that handle such things decided that there should be in order to keep a good balance in nature. The elks have few natural enemies left (very few wolves, and not all that many bears) and if the number of elks is not kept back, they will do damage to the forests and also (in search of food) come too close to towns and villages, where they would be a danger to people too.

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  3. i am happy they are safe from the hunter. i do understand they have to be killed or they would over run but i don't like it...

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  4. So every fall, the hunters everywhere will hunt the moose? Do the moose stay in the woods or come onto the yards and highways as well? Here, we have way too many deer, it is a serious problem and there are lots of wrecks because of it. In fact, we were driving a few years ago and a deer hit our car. We were all lucky to escape with our lives.

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    1. There are high fences along some of the major roads where the risk of moose (or deer) crossing the roads is considered especially high. They are wild animals and it's in their nature to roam. I think their natural instinct is usually to keep away from people. But yes moose (and deer) in the woods on the outskirts of villages and towns can occasionally wander into gardens in search of food, and cause considerable damage. (This time of year they are sometimes tempted by apple trees, I think!)

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  5. They really look magnificent. As Adrian, I wish we had them here. Would love the see them up close. But your images do a fine job!

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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  6. Firstly let me say that I am absolutely opposed to bloodsports for their own sake. Unless, however, one is a vegan or, at the very least, a proper vegetarian then the hunting of animals for food (and to keep their numbers down) has to be better for the animals who live a life in the wild than those bred and kept in captivity - often in appalling conditions.

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    1. I agree, Graham. I don't really like thinking about it, but not being a vegetarian myself, I can't find any really good arguments against this kind of (controlled) hunting either. There are some things (animals) I would never (knowingly) eat but I also realise that what we consider unacceptable is often a question of culture that varies from one part of the world to another.

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  7. Only a few days ago, in the same paper where I've read about the return of the Grizzly, there was also an article about the Elk/moose making its way into Germany, from Poland I think. I hope there won't be too many road accidents. There would be less if people drove more carefully.

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