Warning: I don't believe that the above is a real moose.
OSLO, Norway (AP) - A small Norwegian town was quickly running out of moose Thursday after offering to name each animal after its sponsor in a research project.
"We have four or five left, but they are going fast," said Helge Sines, head of forestry for Vegaarshei township in southern Norway.
Township wildlife officials wanted to put radio tracking collars on 25 moose, so they could study their movements for two years. But the project was too expensive, at more than 400,000 kroner (about $68,000 Cdn).
So they enlisted the moose themselves to do a little fundraising.
For a donation of 5,000 kroner ($845 Cdn), the team will name a moose after a sponsoring company, organization or individual.
"It doesn't cover the (full) amount per animal, but without the goodwill of these sponsors, we wouldn't have been able to go ahead," Sines told The Associated Press.
So far, the sponsors have been companies, leaving the moose with names like Telenor, the Norwegian telecommunications group, and Interoptikk Brillehjoernet, an opticians' chain.
"We never intended to go out and promote this, but the sponsorship project was mentioned in one line, one subordinate clause, on the town's home page (Wednesday), and things took off," Sines said.
"We 'sold' five moose this morning alone," he said.
As part of the deal, moose sponsors can track their namesake on the Internet, although personal meetings are not on the agenda.
"We leave the moose in peace," said Sines. "We do not take people to visit the moose. We don't want to do anything to stress them."
The project intends to track moose movements, summer and winter pastures, grazing preferences, estimated death rates, and research methods of reducing the risk of collisions between moose and trains or motor vehicles.