Per Persson, an 85-year-old hunter living in northern Vämland, told the local Nya Wermlands-Tidningen (NWT) daily that he has never seen anything like it as the elk, rendered ravenous by the long period of snow-cover, seek to find food.
“The elk eat everything they come across. They are even eating spruce, it has gone that far,” he said, confirming that five dead elk calves have been found in the area.
With the big thaw still a few weeks away, local authorities are warning that the food situation is set to remain parlous for the emaciated elk and more fatalities are to be expected.
“The reserves of fat that they have built up have run out now. The population is going to decline significantly,” Per Larsson, a county conservationist, told NWT.
Per Persson has called on forestry owners to leave woodland debris and offcuts by the side of roads to give the hungry elk a lifeline while the snow cover melts.
The country meanwhile is not planning to take any action despite the added risk of roads accidents involving elk as the animals move closer to built up areas in search of sustenance.