‘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.

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

A hot summer in 2018 has impacted the size of Sweden’s elk population, according to a report.

Swedish elk 'fewer and smaller' due to impact of 2018 summer
File photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

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.

READ ALSO: Is it an elk or is it a moose?

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.

READ ALSO: Elk dies after leaping from balcony in Swedish city centre