For three years, Hans Nilsson staked out at a forested region in western Sweden in the hopes he might catch a glimpse of a rare white moose. The area in Varmland County is known for having around 50 to 100 white moose, but for years, the magical creature eluded him.
That is until last Friday, when Nilsson finally saw the moose—all-white fur with velvety white antlers—just 10 metres away from him on the other side a river.
Nilsson immediately started taking photos of the moose eating and cooling off in the river.
“[The moose] knew that I was there all the time and when he swam over, he came over and shook his body to get rid of the water and he turned his face towards me and looking straight into the camera,” Nilsson said in an interview with CTV News. “It was just like he was telling me, ‘Did you get all that?’”
Nilsson was able to photograph the animal for around 20 minutes.
“It’s a fantastic animal. It’s so big and all white, like coming out of a fairytale,” Nilsson said.
In an interview with the National Geographic, Göran Ericsson, a professor of elk and moose at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, says that he’s noticed more white moose every year in Scandinavia where the animals face few predators other than humans.
“Hunters have chosen not to kill any moose that are light,” said Ericsson. “It is kind of like dog breeding. [Hunters] choose to select for traits that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred.”
In Canada, white moose are rare but have been spotted. This past May, Gerard Gale photographed a white moose with small black marks near Stephenville in Newfoundland.