Hans Nilsson vit älg
Mayor on a mission: Hans Nilsson; and the rare white elk. Credit: SR and Tage Bäck

Rare white elk faces uncertain future

3:04 min

A rare white elk - or moose - that captured worldwide attention earlier this year now faces the threat of shooting after the animal attacked a member of the public.

Footage of the albino elk wallowing in a stream in Värmland county took social media by storm in August.

However, the creature, named Ferdinand by local residents, recently rushed at a woman who was walking her two dogs, causing her to fall.

The woman avoided serious injury, but the incident was reported to local police, who have said that local hunters may now kill the animal on public safety grounds.

This is not the first time Ferdinand's future has looked bleak. There were calls to end the animal's life three years ago after he startled a group of school children.

It is currently elk hunting season in Sweden, so there would be no legal barrier to it being shot, local hunter Mats Andersson told Swedish Radio News, before adding that his hunt has no plans to kill the creature.

Ferdinand has received support from local mayor Hans Nilsson - who shot the footage of the elk in August - with the official pledging to act as a human shield for animal.

Speaking to Radio Sweden, Nilsson also said that he was launching an online petition to save the elk from hunters' guns.

"It would be a shame if we were to kill him just because he's acting like a wild animal," Nilsson said. 

Christer Lööf, local police chief, told Swedish Radio News that hunting parties will attempt to encourage the elk to move away from the area in the first instance, rather than shooting it.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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