By Xuefei Chen Axelsson
Stockholm, Sept 27(Greenpost) – From Umeå’s city center to Alg Park, we took the bus and it took an hour. The sceneries along the road is very beautiful, very green and I didn’t feel bus sick. That’s the proof of the beauty.
The park is natural and big. The only sign is the coffee shop and the museum and an alg head at the gate. The museum holds real samples of bear, alg, various alg’s horns and the skins.
The owner of the park is a family of father and son. The father speaks Swedish while the son can speak English. So he gave a good introduction to us about the park.
“Sami people always raise rendeer, they don’t have alg. Over the years, we have sold more than 100 algs (to various parks). There has always been animal parks which have alg inside. That is not a new thing. But like this, the park is only for alg, we were alone. But now I believe, there are 20 such parks that only host alg. But they don’t keep them tame. They don’t spend time with them. So they always come to us to buy new algs, as long as there is enough space and food, they don’t need to spend time to keep them tame. We sell them.
But sometimes we see that is not working and we don’t sell to them. ” said Daniel.
Q: What’s the secret to keep them tame?
A: Just spend time with them. It’s like any animal, you have to spend time with them. I mean when we go inside like this, a lot of children, even though I said don’t cross the fence, everyone still walk behind the fence. So we really need to know them more. I can tell these algs are not in a good mood, we have to go out. Those decisions we need to take sometimes, just because we need to be safe because only one accident is one accident and that is too much of course. And you can never be 100 percent sure. Accidents happens. That is life. But we really try not to have accidents.”
Q: What could happen?
A: They could kick someone. They could get scared, even though they are tamed, by instinct when they feel scared, they could run out of danger. If they see a bear or a woof, their
defence system is to run and escape. If something happens, and one gets panic and begins to run, everyone else will join. And if there is a lot of people, they can be stepped down. Nothing like that has ever happened, but it could happen, even ourselves have to be careful. We try to make it never happen.
Q: How old is an alg?
A: 22 years. We run this park for 19 years, so we don’t have more than 19 years old Alg.
They only eat vegetables and grass, tree leaves and so on. We have to carry in the food for them everyday. We could also give them the same food the sami people give rendeer. In the stable there are some pills that is rendeer food. Alg eats from trees and from high up, rendeer eat from the ground, some winters we have some snow, then it gets melt when it is warm, then it is cold again, so the whole winter is covered by ice, it is almost impossible for the rendeer to find their food because they only eat from the ground. So those years are tough for the Sami people. And then they need these extra food for rendeer. The alg eat them almost the same. It is perfect for alg. It is good. They also eat banana and potatoes. They like them, sometimes they even push each other when we put banana into the park. My father trained them to eat bananas.
We have to carry in food. Up there in the park, you can see a line on how high they can reach. Below that sharp line, they eat out everything. So without our feeding them, this is a far small area for them. they need larger (areas).
Daniel said the algs do not live in group or families, they are individuals. The only time they go together is during the mating season. Then they can go together. Then of course the mother will go with their calves during the first year. After a year, she kicked them away before she got new calves. The mother always goes with her calves. They always have new calves every year. The mating season is in October. And they get the calves at the end of May. Only once a year. They got pregnant about 8 months.
They try once and if he didn’t get the female pregnant, he will try again two weeks later. It is a law of jungle. The strongest alg will get all the females, the weak one doesn’t have a chance. So the stronger one is the happy one, the weak one has no girlfriend.
It can be hard, they loose weight a lot. They have to do everything themselves. Sometimes it can go wrong. They walk right after they were born. Five minutes they can walk. They have to try because if they can’t stand up, they can’t reach the milk, then they will have to die.
Most animals are like that. They will feed the calf by standing. Unlike the dog or pig who can lie down when breast feeding. It is real law of jungle and those who can fit, survive.
Alg has lived in different areas. The big and strong ones always survived. Up in the north, it is difficult to live and the strong ones survive. There are more alg in the whole Sweden. But where there is wolf, there is no alg. Alg in the south is smaller because the climate is easier.