Moose – the king of the Finnish forest
Finland is full of moose. The moose, also known as elk, Alces alces in Latin or hirvi in Finnish, is one of the regular residents of Finland’s forests. Moose are huge animals, reaching up to 2.10 metres in height and weighing an impressive 700 kilograms. The males are crowned by a majestic set of antlers, marking them out as the king of the Finnish forest.
The statement ‘Finland is full of moose’ actually means that there are around 80,000 of these massive animals living in the forests throughout the country. Moose are native to all parts of Finland. They are rarely sighted, however – at any rate, less often than reindeer, which live only in Lapland.
The animal with antlers?
For the sake of clarity, we should point out that moose are not the same as reindeer. Many come to Finland thinking only of the ‘animals with antlers’, but the reindeer is the other animal with antlers. Known in Latin as Rangifer tarandus tarandus and in Finnish as poro, reindeer are much smaller than moose. Santa Claus’s sleigh is pulled by reindeer.
Reindeer are found only in Lapland, where they spend most of their time roaming freely across the wilderness. They should not be mistaken for wild animals, though. Every reindeer in Finland has an owner, and reindeer herding is still a means of livelihood in Lapland.
Be aware on the road
Because reindeer are semi-domesticated, this also means that they are not particularly afraid of people or cars – after all, there are few of either in the areas where the reindeer live. Almost every visitor to Lapland will encounter these beautiful animals at least once along the roadside.
Moose, on the other hand, are a rarer sight. Unlike reindeer, they are truly wild animals and avoid contact with humans as much as possible. Moose are especially active at dawn and dusk. Those are the times they are on the move along their regular routes. It is part of their nature to seek out the same paths again and again. That’s why there are signs warning of moose on Finnish roads: people know where the moose tend to go.
Wild and Free
To be truly free, all you need is the untouched wilderness and a touch of madness in your blood.