Swedish elks repopulate Scotland

On Saturday, Hulda and Herkules, two domesticated elks from northern Sweden will arrive on by plane in Inverness.

The first elks in Scotland since the English Channel was formed are part an attempt to bring back the animal that once roamed the Scottish countryside, said elk farmer Christer Johansson to TT.

Sune Häggmark, who was also considered as a supplier of elks for Scotland, was contacted by BBC and Oxford University in the summer.

“They are trying to re-elk Scotland and are doing a four-year study,” he told The Local. “They fell in love with my elks and wanted to order some right away.”

The Scots ended up ordering their elks (or moose, as they are known in North America) from Johansson’s farm in Bjurholm instead. But Häggmark has plenty of other customers. There is a big demand for domesticated elks, all around the world. Häggmark, who runs a 15 hectare farm in Jämtland, said he has requests from the Czech Republic, China and Norway.

“Believe it or not, but Norway wants a lot of elks,” he said, explaining that in Scandinavia, it’s illegal to snatch elks from the wild and farm them. “Farmable elks are hard to find.”

“You are only allowed to take a calf if it’s obviously without parents,” he said.

Häggmark was brought to Scotland several times and impressed with both the project and the hospitality.

“I was treated like royalty,” said the elk farmer who goes by the name of Moose Man in the British Isles. “There were free rounds at the pub and I felt like I was Mick Jagger when I arrived at the airport.”

In addition to the repopulating attempt in Scotland, farmed elk is popular around the world, because of its products, said Häggmark, who sells elk jewelry, elk paper and elk soaps.

The soaps are clear with an elk “pellet” in the middle.

“It’s amazing, people go crazy over soap with poop in it,” Häggmark said.

Johansson and his wife will accompany Hulda and Herkules, who are six-month-old calves, on their journey to their new 20-hectare Scottish home. Once there, the future will tell whether they are to become the Adam and Eve of a new Scottish elk clan.

Majsan Boström