Norway’s growing moose population is damaging both pasture land and forests, claim landowners. One rancher in Buskerud County thinks half the moose population should be shot.
Knut Bjella showed a crew from Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) how his grazing lands and forest attached to his property, Bjørke Gård in Hole, have been damaged by hungry moose who eat up sprouting pine trees and chew bark off trees.
The trees don’t get a chance to grow up, Bjella claims, while others are mutilated. “They can get quite thick roots, but the moose keep eating the tops of the trees,” he told NRK.
Local conservation officials estimate there were around 5,600 moose in Buskerud this winter. Many agree that the moose population is too large, and that a reduction would have a positive effect.
“There would be fewer traffic accidents and less destruction of the forests,” Lars Erik Gangsei of Faun Naturforvaltning, an independent consulting firm established in Fyresdal in 2002, told NRK.
Moose have also been a problem in Hedmark and Østfold counties, and it’s no longer unusual for moose to wander into populated areas in search of food. In Skiptvet in Østfold, flocks of moose have been regularly seen congregating in open fields. The quota for the annual moose hunt in the autumn was raised last year by around 10 percent.
In Oslo, local wildlife authorities set up feeding stations in secret locations, in an effort to keep hungry moose in the forest and away from busy streets and private gardens.