Elk In Europe: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Are There Any Elk In Europe?

Elk In Europe

Yes, there are Elk in Europe. It is believed that Elk might have lived in Scotland till 900 CE, however, due to habitat loss and severe hunting, they were ultimately driven to extinction in Britain. It survived in regions of eastern and northern Europe and Scandinavia. 

Elk are presently found in huge numbers in Norway, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Poland, and Estonia, with a few numbers in the Czech Republic and  Belarus. The European elk are native to temperate regions with suitable habitat, that has a mix of deciduous and boreal forest. 

How Many Elk Are In Europe?

There are about 500,000–600,000 elk present in Europe. Among them, about 40,000 of them are hunted in countries in Europe or are killed in highway accidents that happen every year. 

The elk population density of a particular region is controlled by the elk management areas. The data and elk damage data are obtained from the National Forest Inventory, and the elk moose population from a Bayesian elk model. 

What Kind Of Elk Are In Europe?

The elk species found in Europe are the Eurasian elk, which are close relatives of the American moose and are the biggest living deer clan. 

They can be easily identified with their humped shoulders, overhanging muzzle, and the dangling flap of fur and skin called the ‘bell’, which dangles down underneath their throat. These species have heavy bodies, with short tails and long legs. They have big hooves, that sid them walk on snow or mud. 

Males weigh roughly over 1,047 lb and females over 827 lb. Their shoulder heights are from 5 to 6 ft. Males are bigger than females, and have antlers. The antlers are big and flattened at the bottom, with sharp projecting points. 

These antlers are shed every winter and grow back in summer. The Eurasian elk antlers span over 2 meters across and weigh up to 30 kg. They are very strong swimmers and can run at a speed of 56 km/H, with their slim legs aiding them to deal with deep snow.

Is A Moose Called An Elk In Europe?

Elk In Europe

Eurasian Elk and Moose, also called European Elk, are various names for the exact species of deer, also known as Alces alces. Thus, there is no difference between Eurasian elk and moose. So while Eurasian Elk and Moose are the exact species, their geographical areas and varying regional terms have confused them. 

Also Check Our Guide On Elk In Utah

Where Can I See Elk In Europe?

The Eurasian elk can be seen found in forested habitats of the Eastern and Northern regions of Europe, including Poland, Scandinavia, and the Czech Republic. 

They prefer to stay in more damp and marshy habitats that are very close to water. They are the most active during dawn and dusk when they roam around the areas in search of food. Here are a few places in Europe to see elk.

  • Kainuu forest

Kainuu’s wetlands and forests are the honeypots for elks. The peak season to spot them are from spring to autumn. In the evening as the daylight stretches wildlife is richer. Winter trips are also famous due to their Narnia-like geographies.

  • Białowieża Forest

Being a Unesco heritage site, the Białowieża forest has an irreplaceable biodiverse. There are more than 59 mammal species including elk and over 250 birds. You can enjoy the Winter Wildlife Festival that runs every year in January. 

  • The Pindus Mountains

The Pindus Mountains are the spine of Greece. Located in the country’s north-western region, sharing borders with Albania and national parks, the spot attracts many tourists to view the wildlife in the country.

What Do Elk Eat In Europe?

Eurasian elk are herbivores and they feed on a combination of trees, herbs, shrubs, and also bark and twigs during the winter. They also consume aquatic plants and as they are strong swimmers they enter rivers and lakes to consume food from the bottom of the water bodies. 

Adult elk eat up to 60 pounds of food every day. They love succulent aquatic shrubs like water lilies. They often waddle in marshes and ponds, sometimes dropping their head in on the water to consume plants.

Can You Hunt & Shoot Elk In Europe?

Eurasian elk are hunted for leather, meat, and bone. It is considered a gaming animal in most of its range and is also controlled as a nuisance of forestry and agriculture in many locations. 

Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Poland are the top countries in the continent to hunt elk. Though they can be hunted in the continent the situation is different for each country, where elk is not very common, or extinct like in the Czech Republic the hunting strategies might be different.

Also Check Our Guide On Elk In America


And that was everything you need to know about the Elk In Europe. I hope this article answered all your queries.

Thank You For Reading!

Our Source For This Guide

Scroll to Top