People may think the Swedish anti-Semitic government is in charge in Sweden. This is wrong! Sweden has a very special governor who rules; the Moose – and he is the Swedish King full of love for Israelis!
If you come to Sweden, you will often see warning signs along the roadside with pictures of moose. Unfortunately, moose are no longer commonly visible freely in Sweden due to the financial interests of the forest industry and the number of moose is dropping dramatically. So, getting REALLY close to this special King is possible only for the ones who come to “Gårdsjö”. This is a very special farm in the middle of Sweden that not many people from Israel know about. It’s the largest Moose Farm in Sweden, only a 1.5 hours’ drive from Stockholm – and the closest you can get to moose which is otherwise not possible in their free natural Swedish habitat.
Leif Lindh – the “Moose- Man” drives our small group in an open wagon attached to a tractor right into the 250000 thousand square meters, 5 km fence area, where the moose immediately come out to greet us. The tour takes about an hour and the moose approach the wagon where we sit. Here you are in the middle of nature, and yet very close to moose that walk completely free.
As Leffe walks around, feeding and petting the moose – and we remain obediently on the wagon – he tells us enthusiastically and entertainingly about his life and his company. He is like a living reference book when it comes to moose. You get to know a lot about the moose and how they live, both in the wild and here in the park. Leffe patiently answers all our questions during the tour. He is a perfect guide in both Swedish and English.
The reason visitors can get so close to the moose, even though a moose could seriously injure an intruder with a single kick, is because Leffe himself has raised them. Every birth means staying out in the woods with the moose around the clock for days on end. The moose have become his friends, his flock and his family. Therefore, they naturally trust him and anyone accompanying Leffe is accepted by the majestic animals.
Leffe was previously a typical Swedish moose-hunter until he was asked to take care of a moose calf that lost its mother in a traffic accident. He brought the calf home and took care of it. This changed his life and the dream was born of a moose park open to the public. In 2007, the moose park was opened with the two moose calves – Gunde and Göta, born in 2006, as the first inhabitants.
Another moose named Olivia was abandoned by her mother at birth.
Leffe bottle-fed her almost around the clock because to get the same effect as moose milk he had to feed her with cow’s milk which has a much lower fat content. For this Olivia was moved into the house where she became a family member. Moose milk contains 22.1 g / 100g fat (cow’s milk 3%) 1200 calories (cow’s milk 60 calories). Olivia not only survived – she thrived and this year 2019, she again gave birth to twins.
We were fortunate to see the small calves up very close.
Getting so close to the mighty moose does something to us humans. That feeling when you touch the animals is so amazing! The oldest bulls are extremely big. The size of the horns varies. But their powerful presence is always the same. There are now approximately fifteen moose in the large expanse belonging to the farm.
Leffe runs the farm like an activist, with private investments, loans and visitors’ fees. No donations are received from the Swedish state because the government claims that “there are no financial opportunities” to be gained here.
Sweden is often presented in the world media as an anti-Semitic state. But on this fantastic VIP tour at the moose farm we have proof of the opposite. Leffe talks about his love for Israel.
It all started when he came to Israel for the first time as a young man and this love has remained in his life ever since. When he tells about his experience in “Zion” he gets that special look we often see in people’s eyes when they love and REALLY understand. There are so many in Sweden who, like Leffe, love Israel. Many of them have volunteered on a Kibbutz and know about Israel’s struggle. They see the freedom that still exists in the Middle East’s only democracy. They want to encourage the Jewish people. They stand up for Israel, the truth they see despite controlled anti-Israeli media and they pray for Shalom.
We saw and felt this even stronger at the end of the tour following our euphoric-like experience in the forest. Suddenly some Swedish fellow travelers start singing spontaneously in Hebrew the old song “Toda la El, Hallelujah!”
Come and experience Sweden at its best and make sure you include the moose park in your next trip to Sweden and support Leffe who struggles to show the world this amazing animal.
Enjoy the nature, the calm and the experience. Everything is handicapped accessible and friendly for children.
Here we see similarities with Israel: A fantastic place, surprising sightseeing, people who care about both humans and animals and welcoming everyone with love.
More Information available also in English on the website including wonderful films and documentations:
Editorial note: The women picture in the article are Sara Bedein and
Meira Bedein, wife and daughter of David Bedein.