Hundreds of the signs already go missing every year, often stolen by German tourists. The elk – similar to, but smaller than, the North American moose – is something of a symbol for Sweden in its Teutonic southern neighbour. One of the current chants among German football fans is “now we’re going to thrash the elks,” according to Expressen.
“This does not bode well for the tourist season,” said Kurt Ove Wiklund, from the Swedish National Road Administration, to Expressen.
Efforts by the authorities to make the signs theft-proof have so far failed to stop the thefts. Many of the signs disappear on lightly trafficked roads where the tourists can unscrew the signs without being seen.
The Road Administration says it plans to tackle thefts by reducing the number of permanent signs, instead placing the warnings when local people warn of problems with elks in the area.