The National Board of Forestry (Skogsstyrelsen) has reported that the elk population appears to have doubled since 2005, according to a recent inventory by hunters, Sveriges Radio’s Ekot news programme reports.
“In the central parts of the storm areas it looks like we have seen a dramatic increase of elk stocks,” Christer Kalén at the board told Ekot.
The elks have been able to forage for more food as a result of Gudrun felling a large number of trees.
“The cleared forests are a real smorgasbord for the elk,” he explained.
The board regularly fields calls from forestry owners seeking advice as to how to scare off the elks from feasting on newly planted pine trees, the weighty animal’s diet of choice.
“There are many landowners out there who are desperate as they can’t get their pine forests to grow,” Kalén said.
A further factor benefiting elk stocks is that since the storm, rural workers have been kept busy clearing the massive stocks of fallen timber.
Hunters have simply been too busy to hunt and the elk have been given free rein to go forth and multiply.
The forestry board is now concerned that if hunters do not cull more of the elk population then road accidents will rocket and further, more longer term, damage to forests will occur.
“Then we will sustain widespread damage, they will eat everything they come across. They will probably even go for the spruce,” Christer Kalén said.