‘Elk hunting is no child’s play’

Animal rights campaigners are in uproar over reports that a pre-school in northern Sweden took its children out elk hunting. It was all pretend but campaigners allege that an ulterior motive lay behind the brutal game.

The children, attending Vintergatan pre-school in the northern Sweden town of Gräsmyr, were taken on a pretend elk hunt last week and were encouraged to shoot at an elk puppet made from cloth and filled with buns.

The move was tasteless, argues Alexandra Leijonhufvud at animal rights group Djurens rätt, who question whether the pre-school’s actions were consistent with the national curriculum.

“Pre-school children are a target group identified by the Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife Management (Jägareförbundet). They run specific campaigns to encourage children’s interest in killing animals,” wrote Leijonhufvud in an open letter on the group’s web page.

Staff at Vintergatan pre-school do not agree, local newspaper Västerbottens-Kuriren writes.

“For our children who grow up in an environment where hunting is part of everyday life it is important that the children also be given the chance to take a position on the issue, as part of their pre-school education,” said teacher Maria Nygård.


‘Stop taking selfies with elk,’ police warn Stockholmers

Stockholm police have asked the public to stop taking photos with elk, after several of the wild animals had to be killed after getting agitated by selfie-takers.

'Stop taking selfies with elk,' police warn Stockholmers
Whether in nature or in the city, if you do see an elk in Sweden, always keep a distance. Photo: Lola Akinmade Åkerström/

Police needed to shoot the elk after they wandered into residential areas including Nacka and Enskede in the capital, Mitt i Stockholm reports.

“An elk that has got lost can usually find its way back if it is calm. But when people run up and take pictures, it becomes stressed and aggressive. It is utterly misanthropic and it’s outrageous that people do not understand better,” police officer Kenneth Kronberg, responsible for the National Game Accident Council (NVR), told the newspaper. 

“Game wardens have agreed that there is nothing wrong with the elk in the city. However, they get very stressed because there are so many people trying to take pictures. That’s why we have to kill the elk, because of 08-ers [a pejorative term for Stockholmers] who think the animal world looks like a Walt Disney movie.”

As well as avoiding taking photos with the animals, police also urged the public to avoid attempting to pet or stroke them, or getting too close. If you see a wild elk, instead you should keep a safe distance away.

In 2017, a rare while elk drew crowds of visitors hoping to catch a glimpse after a video went viral, and again police had to warn the public to treat the animal with care and avoid approaching it. The elk then grew aggressive, charging at a dog-walker, which led police to say they would need to kill the elk if they could not chase it away from the residential area.