Elk

Least concern

Cheval and Fiona are the two elks of the Park. She regularly gives birth to young!


Scientific name : Alces alces

Where do they live?

In Siberia, in Scandinavia and in North America

Did you know?

A long history between us
In the caves of Siberia, prehistoric drawings show elk held by men or pulling sledges. Archaeological evidence shows that elk were present in virtually all of western Europe around 800,000 years ago. Bones have been found in France in the Tournal cave in Bize (Aude).

This animal has flat antlers with tines and is the largest species in the deer family. An elk discovered in Alaska in 1897 holds the record for the largest known deer: the male was 2.34 m tall at the shoulders and weighed 816 kg. Its antlers measured 1.99 m across!
Able to swim across lakes and large rivers (even fawns), it is the only mammal of the Cervidae family that grazes on aquatic plants with their heads under the water. Their wide, webbed hoofs help them swim in the current and help them avoid sinking in soft soil (silt, snow, etc.).

Height

The height at the shoulder can exceed two meters.

Weight

500 kg to 700 kg for males and 350 kg to 580 kg for females.

Maxmim speed

They can reach speeds of 60 km/h.

Birth weight

Around 15 kg at birth .

A boost of help in Alaska

When there is heavy snow, elk use cleared railway tracks to get around, which helps them cross large expanses covered by several centimetres of snow. However, during the winter of 1984-85, 384 elk were hit by trains in Alaska. Now, their presence is taken into account when planning construction. At the airport of Anchorage, barriers are in place around the runways to prevent elks from venturing out. The city is also considering building an underground passage, so that elk that find themselves on the edge of the urban area can avoid the dangerous crossing of the highway.