Finland’s largest animal

Elk, photo Arne Ader

The elk (Alces alces) is the largest animal found in Finland. A an adult female elk weighs over 300 kg and males can weigh up to 500 kg. Female elks give birth to one or two calves, which only weigh ten kilograms, in May.

These forest giants can often be seen foraging for aquatic plants by lakes and bays in the summer. In Helsinki, elks can be seen in Mustavuori and east of the area, in Östersundom. Beyond lies Sipoonkorpi, which is a sufficiently large forest area to support a population of elk in the winter.

In the winter, elks forage in seeding stands, breaking off the branches of junipers, birches and pines. Females wean last year’s calves in the spring. These young elk occasionally wander into urban areas in Helsinki, with some ending up dying in traffic accidents.

Hirvi uimassa, kuva Eero Haapanen.

A swimming elk, photo Eero Haapanen.