Swedish elk ‘fewer and smaller’ due to impact of 2018 summer

Swedish elk 'fewer and smaller' due to impact of 2018 summer
File photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT
A hot summer in 2018 has impacted the size of Sweden’s elk population, according to a report.

Heat and drought during the summer of last year has resulted in weaker calves in 2019, Sveriges Radio reports.

Elk mothers weakened by the hot conditions had less than adequate strength during the winter, when foetuses develop.

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Observations during the autumn hunting season last year also showed an estimated 10 percent fewer calves, probably as a result of reduced milk production by the mothers, caused by heat and drought.

“We also expect to have fewer and smaller calves this year. There was an effect last in terms of reduced survival and this year fewer are being born, and those which are born weigh less and will probably find it harder to survive,” Fredrik Widemo, a wildlife researcher from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, told the radio station.

A weakened elk population may also affect this year’s hunt. Widemo said that several Swedish counties could argue that more of this year’s calves should be shot, since they have a poorer ability to reproduce and will therefore not contribute to a stronger population in future.

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