Swede wins prize for elk sensor innovation

A Swedish man has won a 'Golden Elk' award for inventing a motion sensor system that could potentially reduce the number of collisions with large wild animals on Swedish roads.

Swede wins prize for elk sensor innovation
There were 350 collisions with elk in Sweden in August, 2015. Photo: TT
Stockholmer Benjamin Eliasson is set to be awarded the Golden Elk award on Wednesday from Älgskadefondsföreningen, a non-profit organization working to reduce road accidents in Sweden.
Eliasson is the brains behind an idea that would alert motorists when large wild animals are near roads in some of the more remote parts of Sweden. 

Could this be the answer to the thousands of collisions reported in Sweden each year? Photo: TT
The concept, if made a reality, would see sensors set up in parts of Sweden where the roads are unfenced. If these sensors detected large animals nearby, a signal would be sent to the roadside poles, prompting a light to begin flashing. 
These flashes would alert motorists that there are large animals in the vicinity – and hopefully give them more of a chance to avoid colliding with animals such as elk.
While Eliasson's idea is yet to come into fruition, a working solution to reduce animal accidents on the road would certainly be useful.
There have been 27,000 animals hit on Swedish roads this year, with 350 motorists colliding with an elk in August alone, according to statistics from the Nationella Viltolycksrådet.


‘Stop taking selfies with elk,’ police warn Stockholmers

Stockholm police have asked the public to stop taking photos with elk, after several of the wild animals had to be killed after getting agitated by selfie-takers.

'Stop taking selfies with elk,' police warn Stockholmers
Whether in nature or in the city, if you do see an elk in Sweden, always keep a distance. Photo: Lola Akinmade Åkerström/

Police needed to shoot the elk after they wandered into residential areas including Nacka and Enskede in the capital, Mitt i Stockholm reports.

“An elk that has got lost can usually find its way back if it is calm. But when people run up and take pictures, it becomes stressed and aggressive. It is utterly misanthropic and it’s outrageous that people do not understand better,” police officer Kenneth Kronberg, responsible for the National Game Accident Council (NVR), told the newspaper. 

“Game wardens have agreed that there is nothing wrong with the elk in the city. However, they get very stressed because there are so many people trying to take pictures. That’s why we have to kill the elk, because of 08-ers [a pejorative term for Stockholmers] who think the animal world looks like a Walt Disney movie.”

As well as avoiding taking photos with the animals, police also urged the public to avoid attempting to pet or stroke them, or getting too close. If you see a wild elk, instead you should keep a safe distance away.

In 2017, a rare while elk drew crowds of visitors hoping to catch a glimpse after a video went viral, and again police had to warn the public to treat the animal with care and avoid approaching it. The elk then grew aggressive, charging at a dog-walker, which led police to say they would need to kill the elk if they could not chase it away from the residential area.