Sweden | Moose academy

There’s not much going on in current reality TV in Sweden. No whispered plot, no shattering elimination, no makeup, glitter, gussets displaying the name of the sponsor. And yet, thousands of Internet users are glued to their screens to watch… moose.

Norwegians have already broadcast (very) long TV shows focusing cameras on a fireplace, a knitting marathon or a five-day cruise in the fjords. But the Swedes also like slow TV. What is this spring show that is so popular in cottages?

It is called Den stora älgvandringen (“ The Great Moose Migration”) and the show, produced by Swedish public television SVT, is now in its sixth season. Since April 21, around 30 cameras and microphones have been recording the moose’s northward migration from the Kullberg region, located about a seven-hour drive north of Stockholm. Moose, who have been embarking on this journey for millennia when the snow melts, pass through Kullberg to reach the North. The live broadcast – which attracts listeners from across northern Europe, particularly Germans – will continue until at least May 9, perhaps a little longer if the moose have not completed their migration. Because, unlike other reality shows, this show is not arranged with the guy in the views…

Watch live broadcast of The stora älgvandringen

And what can we see there?

When you watch live… not much happens. Moose walking in the woods. Who bend over to chew a green shoot. Who ruminate. Who shake their heads and ears. Who take two steps forward, ruminating. Sometimes a camera shows another point of view. Other moose walking, without hurrying. Curious reindeer. An owl hoots in the distance. Patches of ice slide down the Ångermanälven River. Nothing happens, and it’s beautiful.

Fascinating. And what is the highlight of the show?

Apparently the highlight of the experience is when the moose put their hooves in the water to cross the river. This year, the first three ventured out last Wednesday (the 1er May), after 10 days of broadcast. On the chat window, the jubilation of viewers caused the discussion thread to explode. “There are a lot of dedicated viewers, it’s fantastic. They are celebrating with us,” producer Stefan Edlun commented to public network SVT Nyheter. “But I suffer with those who got up from the couch and missed it…”


Meal break for these Swedish reindeer

When we listened on Friday, the moose were spending much more time ruminating than swimming. “Men nu är det heela 2 grader i vattnet, bada bada…”, someone named Mulen said indignantly in the chat. (translation: “it’s 2 degrees in the water, bathe, bathe…”)

Two degrees, still, that’s not hot for the hooves…

In fact, it is immediately after the ice melts. Last year, the first moose that ventured into the water was spotted on May 3 – it was an avid viewer who alerted the production team. In total, 21 moose had been seen crossing the river in 2023. As of May 3, according to the counter displayed at the bottom of the screen, nine moose had crossed the river.

Do we see other animals there?

Of course. So far there have been lynx, bears, otters, eagles, reindeer, a wolverine. Friday evening, Internet users were moved by the images of frogs in the dusk.

And why shouldn’t we do the same thing? Quebec moose are at least as telegenic as their Swedish cousins.

That’s not the question. In Quebec, explains biologist Fanie Pelletier, professor at the University of Sherbrooke, the population density of moose is quite a bit lower than in Sweden – around 95,000 moose were killed by Swedish hunters in 2023, compared to 22,660 in Quebec.


Even though Sweden’s northern landscape may resemble that of Quebec, Swedish geography means that moose migrate differently there than here.

In addition, the geography of Swedish territory means that many moose pass through Kullberg on their way to the north – increasing the chances of capturing their movements on camera. Quebec caribou migrate in herds north. “But it’s so big, the North…” she said. “And caribou don’t always follow the same route. » It’s not easy to install cameras in these conditions.

Too bad… It would be a great opportunity to see what’s happening in the forest.

Indeed. In Sweden, the spread of migration gives rise to several discussions. “Moose are considered a threat to the growth of the forest,” the newspaper lamented this week in an editorial. Aftonbladet.


A moose rests its eyes in a Swedish forest.

The Swedish government is slowing down the adoption by the European Union of regulations in favor of nature restoration, recalled the newspaper, which denounces the influence of forestry companies. They also demanded last fall to be able to kill more moose. “The forest is there to generate maximum profit,” concludes bitterly Aftonbladet.

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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