Entering the Kaisaniemi Metro station I was pleasantly surprised to find myself among some modern “cave paintings”.
This was only a moderate surprise because I’d seen a blog entry about these paintings previously (see here) – but nice to see in person nonetheless. We’ve yet to see a moose in Finland, but have already learnt a lot about these creatures and the Finn’s relationship with the largest of the deer (“hirvi” in Finnish).
One of the first things we were told about the moose is that it’s a real traffic hazard in Finland – much like the kudu in some parts of South Africa. Their long legs and massive bulk make them lethal obstacles along motorways. Interestingly enough, I see that Wikipedia has an entry for a “Moose Test“, which is “a test to determine how a certain vehicle acts when the driver evades a suddenly appearing obstacle (such as a moose on the road)” – I guess that just illustrates how much of a menace the moose is on the roads. May this is one of the reasons why they were last ranked among Finland’s favourite animals in a recent survey? [Helsinki residents like owls most – maybe in part due to the owls breeding in the city?]
Nonetheless, moose do make good models for puppets & masks – as evident from the recent puppet-making workshops held during the Helsinki festival. See the cool photo below – we were really disappointed that they’d run out of moose models by the time we got to the workshop!
And it shouldn’t be a surprise that these creatures are also favourite subjects for sculptors. You can find at least two recreations of moose in the city centre – outside the Natural History Museum and in Kaisaniemi park. You can find out all sorts of information about these and other public art pieces at the Helsinki City Art Museum’s excellent website.
Moose hunting is a pretty big in some part of Finland, with hunting season on the beasts opening soon. If you’re heading out into the forest in autumn you might want to wear something bright – just so that it’s clear to everyone that you’re not a moose!