Elk is a large and long-legged cloven-hoofed mammal that usually weighs 200 to 500 kilos. Stags are larger than females. The stags have full-bone antlers. Females produce one or two calves in early summer. Elk migrate by seasons and mainly live alone, but they can form small groups especially in the wintertime. Elk are most active at dawn and dusk. They feed on trees, shrubs, dwarf shrubs and herbaceous plants.
Elk lives in forests and prefers young coniferous or mixed forests above all. Its area of distribution covers the northern coniferous zone in Europe and western Asia.
Elk is the most important game animal in Finland and it has been remarkable since prehistoric times, which is proven by their appearance in rock paintings. Elk is also a prey animal of large predators like brown bear (Ursus arctos) and wolf (Canis lupus). Regulating elk population by hunting is necessary because of the damage it causes. Elk cause damage to both forestry and agriculture. In young forest stands saplings 1 to 3 meter tall are prone to damage. In addition elk cause danger in traffic. Elk collisions cause damage to both vehicles and humans travelling inside them.
Elk belongs to the species that have benefited from forest management because forest regeneration continuously produces new habitats for them when their former areas have grown too old for them.
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