When one of only 100 albino elks in Sweden caught a woman walking her dogs off guard, he caused concern among local policemen.
The rare white elk, dubbed Ferdinand by locals, has been living in the Swedish region of Värmland over the past few months. Some locals have been too frightened to venture outside in case they cross paths with Ferdinand, the elk. Recently, the elk approached a woman out walking her two dogs. The woman fell and injured herself, and her dogs were frightened.
In response, the Värmland police force decided to cull the elk before further injuries could occur. They revoked their decision, however, after tens of thousands of people rallied to save the elk.
Sweden’s biggest animal welfare organisation, Djurens rätt, campaigned for the animal’s safety and within five hours more than 20,000 people had signed the petition. “It is the fastest-growing petition we have ever had,” says a spokesperson for the 40,000-strong organisation.
On Tuesday the Värmland police issued a statement explaining their reasons. “Since November 6th there have been no reports about the elk acting in an aggressive way, which is why the decision about a protective hunt no longer applies,” it reads.
While there are only 100 albino elks in Sweden, the total elk population is estimated between 300,000 and 400,000.