Authorities in Sweden have decided not to kill a white elk after a large public outcry by animal rights campaigners.

The incredible animal became internationally famous in August after it was captured on camera by local politician Hans Nilsson. The footage shows the animal wandering in its habitat in Värmland, western Sweden.

The publicity, however, attracted unwelcome attention of sightseers who have flocked to the area hoping to get a glimpse.

Earlier this month the moose charged at a woman who was walking her dogs. This caused concern with authorities who considered culling the animal in the interest of public safety.

"Since November 6th there have been no reports about the elk acting in an aggressive way, which is why the decision about a protective hunt no longer applies," said Värmland police in a statement.

A public outcry followed news reports suggesting the animal's life was in danger of being cut short.

20,000 people signed an online petition to prevent the cull. "It is the fastest-growing petition we have ever had," a spokesperson for animal rights group Djurens rätt told The Local on Tuesday.

"It's very sad when you have seen the problem for a long time," said local nature photographer Ingemar Petersson. "There is a lot of pressure on the area, and many photographers have behaved badly, but the elk is not aggressive."

There are believed to be around 100 white elk living in Sweden amongst the species's estimated population of 300,000 to 400,000.