A drunken elk desperate for just one more mouthful of fermenting apples lost its balance in the attempt, leaving it stuck in an apple tree in western Sweden. When Per Johansson of Särö, south of Gothenburg, returned home from work on Tuesday it was dark outside and the rain was coming down hard. Suddenly Johansson heard a bellowing noise from the garden next door. “I thought at first that someone was having a laugh. Then I went over to take a look and spotted an elk stuck in an apple tree with only one leg left on the ground,” Johansson said. The unfortunate elk was desperately entangled in the tree’s branches and was kicking ferociously as Johansson approached.
“I thought it looked pretty bad so I called the police who sent out an on-call hunter. But while we were waiting, the neighbours and I started to saw down some of the branches and then the hunter arrived with a saw as well,” said Johansson. The group tried to make the elk more comfortable but to no avail. It wasn’t until the fire brigade arrived on the scene and managed to bend the tree to the point where the exhausted elk could slide out of the branches that the animal was finally freed. According to Johansson, it looked very much like the elk was severely drunk after eating too many fermenting apples.
Drunken elk are common in Sweden during the autumn season when there are plenty of apples lying around on the ground and hanging from branches in Swedish gardens. While the greedy animal was reaching ever higher to reach the delicious but intoxicating fruit, it most likely stumbled into the tree, getting itself hopelessly entangled in the branches. And from what Johansson could gather, this particular animal had been on a day-long bender. “My neighbour recognised it as the animal that almost ran into her car earlier in the day. She was pretty sure the elk was already under the influence,“ said Johansson.
When the inebriated elk was freed, it lay for a while on the ground, seemingly unconscious. After emergency services had ascertained that the animal was still alive, Johansson was told to keep an eye on it and call the hunter straight away if it seemed to be suffering. But by the morning the hungover animal had stood up and cautiously moved a few metres away. After a while it went on its way, although Johansson suspects it is still skulking around the neighbourhood. “We often see elk stuffing their faces with apples around here but this is the first time we found one perched in a tree,” he said.