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ELK

World’s biggest elk statue arrives in Oslo

Oslo this week took delivery of the world's largest elk sculpture, a ten-metre-high beast in shimmering steel which stands 30cm taller than its Canadian rival 'Mac the Moose'.

World’s biggest elk statue arrives in Oslo
The Big Elk under construction in China late last year. Photo: Linda Bakke
The giant elk, created by Norwegian artist Linda Bakke, will mark the mid-point of the road between Oslo and Trondheim, welcoming travellers to the country's northern reaches. 
 
The statue, called 'Storelgen' or 'The Big Elk' is part of a Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) project to use art to reduce traffic accidents.
 
“The idea is that people will stop to have a look at the elk and at the same time stretch their legs and get some fresh air.” Artist Linda Bakke told Norwegian broadcaster TV2.  
 
As well as a tourist attraction the hope is that the elk will help reduce traffic accidents by reminding drivers of the dangers of wildlife and breaking the monotony of driving. 
 
The elk is a lifelike depiction and is made of polished steel that will reflect the natural beauty of the scenery around it.
 
Bakke says it was important that the elk was made higher than Mac the Moose, a fiberglass moose built in 1984 in the city of Moose Jaw, Canada. 
 
“Also, at will be much nicer than Mac the Moose,” she told TV2.  “The NPRA wanted a magnificent specimen of an elk.”
 
The monstrous animal arrived in Oslo this week after a long journey from China, where it was constructed, mainly because it was cheaper. 
 
”Both in terms of price and craftsmanship the Chinese are the best,” Bakke told local paper Østlendingen.
 
The new elk will be assembled on site, with a world record to crown its inauguration.
 
In a previous project, Bakke made a number of brightly coloured giant elk horns attached to trees along a stretch of road.
 
 

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ELK

Why rare white elk can be spotted in Norway’s forests

Many hunters in Norway choose not to set their sights on the rare white elk, meaning the genetic factor that produces it can thrive.

Why rare white elk can be spotted in Norway’s forests
The white elk is so rare in Norway that we don't have a photo of it. Photo: Dick Millet/Unsplash

The light-coloured variant of the animal is an unusual sight in the wild in Norway and is therefore protected in some areas near the Swedish border where hunting is permitted.

In turn, the chance of sighting a white elk is higher in these localities, according to a report by broadcaster NRK, which cited local residents as saying they regularly observe white elk.

White elk are not white due to albinism but because of a recessive gene.

“An elk being is white is similar to us humans having blue eyes. There are many of us with blue eyes here in the Nordic countries, but it is due to a factor known in technical terms as recessivity. This means that this gene is easily repressed and not dominant. Even if the mother is white, there is a very small probability that the calf will be too,” Göran Ericsson, a professor in natural ecology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, told NRK.

“It is a pigment deficiency, but in contrast to albinism these white elk are exactly the same as other elk. Classical albinism often affects other things and (individuals) don’t have as much chance of surviving or reproducing,” he also explained.

 

Although the genetics which produce the white elk are recessive, consensus over avoiding hunting elk of this particular colour may result in a higher prevalence of the recessive gene, including in regular elk.

Knut Arne Gjems, leader of the Norwegian Association of Hunters and Anglers (Norges Jeger- og Fiskerforbund), described the protection of the white elk by hunters as a “curiosity”.

“The (white) elk is not protected because it has a different colour as such, but there are several local landowners who choose to protect the white elk anyway. It's good take care of them as a curiosity,” he told NRK.

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