The species Alces alces is called the moose by North Americans (a name derived from Eastern Abenaki moz) or the elk by Europeans. Alces alces is the largest existing member of the deer family Cervidae, distinguished from the others by the palmate antlers of its males. These antlers are unique in shape, having a more cup-like shape as opposed to the common twig-like figuration of others in the deer family.It should be noted that in North America, the name elk is given to the second largest species of deer - an animal also called the wapiti. The male moose s antlers arise as cylindrical beams projecting on each side at right angles to the middle line of the skull, which after a short distance divide in a fork-like manner. The lower prong of this fork may be either simple, or divided into two or three tines, with some flattening. Domestication of moose was investigated in the Soviet Union before World War II. Early experiments were inconclusive, but with the creation of a moose farm at Pechora-Ilych Nature Reserve in 1949 a small-scale moose domestication program was started, involving attempts at selective breeding of animals based on their behavioral characteristics. Since 1963, the program has continued at Kostroma Moose Farm, which had a herd of 33 tame moose as of 2003. The moose is considered the national animal of Sweden and Norway. In both countries it is often, probably because of the crown-like shape of its antlers, referred to as the King of the forest . In the United States, the moose is the state animal of Maine and the state land mammal of Alaska. Likewise, New Hampshire is nationally recognized for its plentiful moose population.
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