A rare white moose roaming in western Sweden captured the hearts of a global audience in August when a video of it went viral, but now the majestic moose is facing an uncertain future after officials decided it needed to be killed.
Police made the decision last week to institute a "protection hunt" to eliminate the beloved moose in Värmland, Gunnarskog, after it charged a woman walking her dogs, according to The Local Sweden.
Before attempting to kill the animal, however, police are trying to scare it away from the residential area. If that doesn't work, then they plan to shoot it, Arvika police chief Christer Lööf told hunting magazine SvenskJakt.
The decision was made based on a few issues, according to Lööf.
“Some people who live in the area don’t go out because of the moose, for example older people with walkers who cannot get away when the elk comes close to them,” Lööf explained. “This is not a pet, although many people seem to think so. The moose may seem tame, but it retains its natural instincts.”
Lööf also told Expressen.se that the moose is "no longer afraid of people and does not go away like a normal moose."
Unfortunately, the white moose's fame has contributed to that problem. The moose, nicknamed Ferdinand, has become the object of sightseers and tourists attempting to capture video or photos, or just to catch a glimpse of it.
Local nature photographer Ingemar Petersson said he once saw 20 people surrounding the moose "in pursuit of the perfect picture."
“It’s very sad when you have seen the problem for a long time,” Petersson told The Local on Tuesday. “The decision has been taken because [the moose] is aggressive, but I have never experienced that.
“There is a lot of pressure on the area, and many photographers have behaved badly, but the elk is not aggressive."
Hans Nilsson, who captured the video of the white moose in August, is angry over the decision to kill the animal and began an on-line petition in an attempt to stop that from happening.
“I get upset at how short-sighted people can be," he told Expressen.se. "I do not understand why anyone would want to kill such animals. In my opinion, it is not dangerous to humans. It does not like dogs, and behaves like any other moose would do."
The on-line protest has garnered more than 6,700 signatures in a short amount of time.
"A wild animal should not be punished with death because it responds in accordance with its natural instincts," the petition reads.
Many in Sweden agree.
Read more about white moose on GrindTV