Sika Deer
Overview
 
The Sika Deer, Cervus nippon, also known as the Spotted Deer or the Japanese Deer, is a species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

 native to much of East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

 and introduced to various other parts of the world. Previously found from northern Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 in the south to the Russian Far East
Russian Far East
Russian Far East is a term that refers to the Russian part of the Far East, i.e., extreme east parts of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean...

 in the north, it is now on the brink of extinction in all areas except Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, where the species is overabundant. Its name comes from , the Japanese word for "deer".
The Sika Deer is a member of the genus Cervus
Cervus
Cervus is a genus of deer that primarily are native to Eurasia, although one species occurs in northern Africa and another in North America. In addition to the species presently placed in this genus, it has included a whole range of other species now commonly placed in other genera, but some of...

, a group of deer also known as the "true deer".
Encyclopedia
The Sika Deer, Cervus nippon, also known as the Spotted Deer or the Japanese Deer, is a species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

 native to much of East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

 and introduced to various other parts of the world. Previously found from northern Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 in the south to the Russian Far East
Russian Far East
Russian Far East is a term that refers to the Russian part of the Far East, i.e., extreme east parts of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean...

 in the north, it is now on the brink of extinction in all areas except Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, where the species is overabundant. Its name comes from , the Japanese word for "deer".

Taxonomy

The Sika Deer is a member of the genus Cervus
Cervus
Cervus is a genus of deer that primarily are native to Eurasia, although one species occurs in northern Africa and another in North America. In addition to the species presently placed in this genus, it has included a whole range of other species now commonly placed in other genera, but some of...

, a group of deer also known as the "true deer". Formerly Sika were grouped together in this genus with nine other species. Now, only the Sika and Red Deer remain, the latter being divided into three separate species European Red Deer
Red Deer
The red deer is one of the largest deer species. Depending on taxonomy, the red deer inhabits most of Europe, the Caucasus Mountains region, Asia Minor, parts of western Asia, and central Asia. It also inhabits the Atlas Mountains region between Morocco and Tunisia in northwestern Africa, being...

, Central Asian Red Deer
Central Asian Red Deer
The Central Asian Red Deer is a primordial group of Red deer subspecies, which live in central Asia from the Caspian Sea to western China.Recent DNA studies conducted on hundreds samples from Red Deer and Elk subspecies determined that Red deer and Elk represent two distinct species.The central...

 and American Elk
Elk
The Elk is the large deer, also called Cervus canadensis or wapiti, of North America and eastern Asia.Elk may also refer to:Other antlered mammals:...

 (though this remains controversial ) This is because recent DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 evidence indicates that these deer are not as closely related as previously thought resulting in the creation of new species and genera. The genera Rucervus
Rucervus
Rucervus is a genus of deer from India, Nepal, Indochina, and the Chinese island Hainan. They are threatened by habitat loss and hunting, and one species has already gone extinct....

, Rusa
RUSA
Rusa may refer to:* Rusa , a genus of deer* Any of four kings of Urartu, an Iron Age kingdom in what is now Turkey and Armenia* Perodua Rusa, a microvan* Rusa , another name for the wine grape GewürztraminerRUSA may refer to:...

, and Przewalskium are where most of the former Cervus species now belong. The ancestor of all Cervus probably originated in Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 and resembled Sika Deer. All Cervus species can crossbreed and produce hybrids in areas where they co-exist (for example introduced Sika hybridize with native Red Deer in the Highlands of Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 were this is a serious threat to the gene pool of the red deer population).

Subspecies

There has been serious genetic pollution
Genetic pollution
Genetic pollution is a controversial term for uncontrolled gene flow into wild populations. This gene flow is undesirable according to some environmentalists and conservationists, including groups such as Greenpeace, TRAFFIC, and GeneWatch UK.-Usage:...

 in many populations, especially in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. Therefore the status of many subspecies
Subspecies
Subspecies in biological classification, is either a taxonomic rank subordinate to species, ora taxonomic unit in that rank . A subspecies cannot be recognized in isolation: a species will either be recognized as having no subspecies at all or two or more, never just one...

 remain unclear. The status of C. n. hortulorum is particularly uncertain and might in fact be of mixed origin, hence it is not listed here.
  • C. n. aplodontus, Northern Honshu
    Honshu
    is the largest island of Japan. The nation's main island, it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait...

  • C. n. grassianus
    Shanxi Sika Deer
    The Shanxi Sika Deer is a possibly extinct subspecies of the Sika deer. It is also one of its largest, being 105 - 110 cm tall at the shoulder, and weighs 100 kg. The color is tawny or grayish dark, and is brown on the back of the leg. The spots are nearly invisible...

    , Shanxi
    Shanxi
    ' is a province in Northern China. Its one-character abbreviation is "晋" , after the state of Jin that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period....

    , China
    China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

  • C. n. keramae, Ryukyu Islands
    Ryukyu Islands
    The , also known as the , is a chain of islands in the western Pacific, on the eastern limit of the East China Sea and to the southwest of the island of Kyushu in Japan. From about 1829 until the mid 20th century, they were alternately called Luchu, Loochoo, or Lewchew, akin to the Mandarin...

  • C. n. kopschi
    South China Sika Deer
    The South China Sika Deer is one of many subspecies of Sika Deer. Standing tall at the shoulder, it is a small subspecies that is only a little larger than its Japanese counterpart. The back is brown with a long dark vertebral strip flanked from indistinct white spots, the belly is snowy white...

    , Southern China
  • C. n. mandarinus
    North China Sika Deer
    The North China Sika Deer or Mandarin Sika Deer is one of the many subspecies of Sika Deer. It is a large subspecies with some of the most prominent spots of all subspecies, which is permanent throughout the year. It previously inhabits lowland forests of North China Plain and Northeast China Plain...

    , Northern and Northeastern China
  • C. n. mantchuricus
    Manchurian Sika Deer
    The Manchurian Sika Deer or Dybowski's Sika Deer is one of the many subspecies of Sika Deer formerly found in northeastern China, Korea, and Russian Far East...

    , Northeastern China, Korea
    Korea
    Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

    , and Russian Far East
    Russian Far East
    Russian Far East is a term that refers to the Russian part of the Far East, i.e., extreme east parts of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean...

    .
  • C. n. nippon, Southern Honshu
    Honshu
    is the largest island of Japan. The nation's main island, it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait...

    , Shikoku
    Shikoku
    is the smallest and least populous of the four main islands of Japan, located south of Honshū and east of the island of Kyūshū. Its ancient names include Iyo-no-futana-shima , Iyo-shima , and Futana-shima...

    , and Kyushu
    Kyushu
    is the third largest island of Japan and most southwesterly of its four main islands. Its alternate ancient names include , , and . The historical regional name is referred to Kyushu and its surrounding islands....

  • C. n. pseudaxis
    Vietnamese Sika Deer
    The Vietnamese Sika Deer is one of the many subspecies of the Sika Deer. It is one of the smaller subspecies, due to the tropical environment they live in. They were previously found in northern Vietnam and possibly southwestern China, but have now become extinct in the wild. There are plans for...

    , Northern Vietnam
    Vietnam
    Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

  • C. n. pulchellus, Tsushima Island
    Tsushima Island
    Tsushima Island is an island of the Japanese Archipelago situated in the middle of the Tsushima Strait at 34°25'N and 129°20'E. The main island of Tsushima was once a single island, but the island was divided into two in 1671 by the Ōfunakosiseto canal and into three in 1900 by the Manzekiseto canal...

  • C. n. sichuanicus
    Sichuan Sika Deer
    The Sichuan Sika Deer is one of the many subspecies of Sika Deer. It was discovered in 1978 and was proven to be a distinct subspecies. It is found in the mountains of northern Sichuan and southern Gansu, which holds the largest population of Sika Deer in China...

    : Western China.
  • C. n. taioanus
    Formosan Sika Deer
    The Formosa sika deer, , is a subspecies of sika deer endemic to the island of Taiwan. Formosan sika, like most of the terrestrial fauna and flora of Taiwan, arrived on the island during Pleistocene glacial periods when lower sea levels connected Taiwan to the Asian mainland.-Appearance and...

    : Taiwan
    Taiwan
    Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

  • C. n. yesoensis: Hokkaido
    Hokkaido
    , formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japan's second largest island; it is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel...


Description

The Sika deer is one of the few deer species that does not lose its spots upon reaching maturity. Spot patterns vary with region. The mainland subspecies have larger and more obvious spots, in contrast to the Taiwanese
Formosan Sika Deer
The Formosa sika deer, , is a subspecies of sika deer endemic to the island of Taiwan. Formosan sika, like most of the terrestrial fauna and flora of Taiwan, arrived on the island during Pleistocene glacial periods when lower sea levels connected Taiwan to the Asian mainland.-Appearance and...

 and Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese subspecies, whose spots are nearly invisible. Many introduced populations are from Japan and thus also lack significant spots.

The color of the fur ranges from mahogany
Mahogany (color)
Mahogany is a reddish brown color. It is approximately the color of the wood, mahogany. However, the wood itself is not uniformly the same color, and "mahogany" is not a standard HTML color with a standardized RGB value....

 to black, and white individuals are also known. During winter the coat becomes darker and shaggier and the spots less prominent, and a mane forms on the back of the males' necks. They are medium sized herbivores, 50 – tall at the shoulder and weighing 30 –. Males are noticeably larger than females. All Sikas are compact and dainty-legged with short, trim, wedge-shaped heads and a boisterous disposition. When alarmed, they will often display a distinctive flared rump
Rump (animal)
The rump or croup, in the external morphology of an animal, is the portion of the posterior dorsum that is posterior to the loins and anterior to the tail. Anatomically, the rump corresponds to the sacrum....

, much like the American Elk.

Sika stags have stout, upright antler
Antler
Antlers are the usually large, branching bony appendages on the heads of most deer species.-Etymology:Antler originally meant the lowest tine, the "brow tine"...

s with an extra buttress up from the brow tine and a very thick wall. A forward-facing intermediate tine breaks the line to the top, which is usually forked. Occasionally sika antlers develop some palmation (flat areas). Females carry a pair of distinctive black bumps on the forehead. Antlers can range from 28 to 45 cm (11 to 17.7 ) to more than 80 centimetres (31.5 in) depending on the subspecies. Stags also have a distinctive mane during the rut.

Behavior

The sika deer can be active throughout the day, though in areas with heavy human disturbance they tend to be nocturnal. Seasonal migration is known to occur in mountainous areas such as Japan, with winter ranges being up to 700 metres (2,296.6 ft) lower than summer ranges. Lifestyles vary between individuals, with some occurring alone while others are found in single-sex groups. Large herds will gather in autumn and winter. The Sika Deer is a highly vocal species, with over 10 individual sounds ranging from soft whistles to loud screams.

Sika males are territorial and keep harem
Harem (zoology)
The term harem is used in zoology to describe the social organization of certain herbivore species, such as those in the Hominidae and Equidae families, into groups of females and young surrounding a single dominant male...

s of females during the rut
Rut (mammalian reproduction)
The rut is the mating season of ruminant animals such as deer, sheep, elk, moose, caribou, ibex, goats, pronghorn and Asian and African antelope....

, which peaks from early September through October but may last well into the winter months. Territory size varies with type of habitat and size of the buck; strong, prime bucks may hold up to 2 hectares (5 acre). Territories are marked with a series of shallow pits or scrapes, into which the males urinate and from which emanates a strong, musk
Musk
Musk is a class of aromatic substances commonly used as base notes in perfumery. They include glandular secretions from animals such as the musk deer, numerous plants emitting similar fragrances, and artificial substances with similar odors. Musk was a name originally given to a substance with a...

y odor. Fights between rival males are sometimes fierce and long, and may even be fatal.

In Nara, Japan, the deer are also known as 'bowing deer' as they bow their heads before you feed them. Simply purchase some deer-crackers from the shops in the park and hold one up to the deer (in front and slightly above its head). The deer will then bow its head before taking the cracker from your hand.

Habitat

Sika Deer are found in the temperate and subtropical forests of Eastern Asia, preferring areas with dense understory, and where snowfall does not exceed 10 –. They tend to forage in patchy clearings of forests. Introduced populations are found in areas with similar habitats to their native range, including Western and Central Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, Eastern United States
Eastern United States
The Eastern United States, the American East, or simply the East is traditionally defined as the states east of the Mississippi River. The first two tiers of states west of the Mississippi have traditionally been considered part of the West, but can be included in the East today; usually in...

, and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

.

Population

The sika deer inhabits temperate and subtropical woodlands, which often occupy areas suitable for farming and other human exploitation. Its range encompasses some of the most densely populated areas in the world, where forests were cleared hundreds of years ago. The population status of Sika deer varies significantly in different countries. Although the species as a whole is thriving, it is endangered and extinct in many areas.

Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 has by far the largest native Sika population in the world. Though the exact population is uncertain it is likely to be in the hundred thousand range and is still increasing. This is mainly due to recent conservation efforts and the extinction of its main predator, the wolf, over a century ago. Without its main enemy the population of sika exploded and it is now overpopulated in many areas, posing a threat to both forests and farmlands. Efforts are now being made to control its population instead of conserving it. None of its subspecies are endangered except the Kerama Deer (C. n. keramae) in the tiny Ryukyu Islands
Ryukyu Islands
The , also known as the , is a chain of islands in the western Pacific, on the eastern limit of the East China Sea and to the southwest of the island of Kyushu in Japan. From about 1829 until the mid 20th century, they were alternately called Luchu, Loochoo, or Lewchew, akin to the Mandarin...

.

China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 used to have the largest population of Sika, but thousands of years of hunting and habitat loss has reduced the population to less than 1,000. Of the five subspecies in China, North China Sika Deer
North China Sika Deer
The North China Sika Deer or Mandarin Sika Deer is one of the many subspecies of Sika Deer. It is a large subspecies with some of the most prominent spots of all subspecies, which is permanent throughout the year. It previously inhabits lowland forests of North China Plain and Northeast China Plain...

 (C. n. mandarinus) is believed to be extinct in the wild since the 1930s, Shanxi Sika Deer
Shanxi Sika Deer
The Shanxi Sika Deer is a possibly extinct subspecies of the Sika deer. It is also one of its largest, being 105 - 110 cm tall at the shoulder, and weighs 100 kg. The color is tawny or grayish dark, and is brown on the back of the leg. The spots are nearly invisible...

 (C. n. grassianus) has not been seen in the wild since the 1980s and is also believed to be extinct in the wild. The status of Manchurian Sika Deer
Manchurian Sika Deer
The Manchurian Sika Deer or Dybowski's Sika Deer is one of the many subspecies of Sika Deer formerly found in northeastern China, Korea, and Russian Far East...

 in China is unclear, though it is believed to be extinct as well and the sightings there are actually feral populations. South China Sika Deer
South China Sika Deer
The South China Sika Deer is one of many subspecies of Sika Deer. Standing tall at the shoulder, it is a small subspecies that is only a little larger than its Japanese counterpart. The back is brown with a long dark vertebral strip flanked from indistinct white spots, the belly is snowy white...

 (C. n. kopschi) and Sichuan Sika Deer
Sichuan Sika Deer
The Sichuan Sika Deer is one of the many subspecies of Sika Deer. It was discovered in 1978 and was proven to be a distinct subspecies. It is found in the mountains of northern Sichuan and southern Gansu, which holds the largest population of Sika Deer in China...

 (C. n. sichuanicus) are the only remaining subspecies in the wild. The former exists in fragmented populations of around 300 in southeast China while the latter is found in a single population of over 400. The feral population is likely to be much higher than the wild though most of them are descended from domesticated sikas of mixed subspecies. All of the subspecies are present in captivity but a lack of suitable habitats and government efforts prevent reintroduction from happening.

The Formosan Sika Deer
Formosan Sika Deer
The Formosa sika deer, , is a subspecies of sika deer endemic to the island of Taiwan. Formosan sika, like most of the terrestrial fauna and flora of Taiwan, arrived on the island during Pleistocene glacial periods when lower sea levels connected Taiwan to the Asian mainland.-Appearance and...

 (C. n. taioanus) has been extinct for almost two decades before individuals from zoos were introduced to Kenting National Park
Kenting National Park
Kenting National Park is a national park located in the Hengchun Peninsula of Pingtung County, Taiwan, covering Hengchun, Checheng and Manjhou Townships. Established on January 1, 1984, it is Taiwan's oldest and southernmost national park, covering the southernmost area of the Taiwan island...

 and the population now numbers 200. Reintroduction programs are also under way in Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, where the Vietnamese Sika Deer
Vietnamese Sika Deer
The Vietnamese Sika Deer is one of the many subspecies of the Sika Deer. It is one of the smaller subspecies, due to the tropical environment they live in. They were previously found in northern Vietnam and possibly southwestern China, but have now become extinct in the wild. There are plans for...

 (C. n. pseudaxis) is extinct or nearly so.

Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 has a relatively large and stable population of 9,000 individuals of the Manchurian subspecies, but this is limited to a small area in Primorsky Krai
Primorsky Krai
Primorsky Krai , informally known as Primorye , is a federal subject of Russia . Primorsky means "maritime" in Russian, hence the region is sometimes referred to as Maritime Province or Maritime Territory. Its administrative center is in the city of Vladivostok...

. Small populations might exist in North Korea, but the political situation makes investigation impossible. The species is extinct in South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 with no plans for reintroduction.

Introduced populations

Sika Deer have been introduced into a number of other countries including Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Britain, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, Jolo Island
Jolo
Jolo may refer to:* Jolo Island* Jolo, Sulu* Jolo, West Virginia* Jolo is also the nickname of Swedish author Jan Olof Olsson....

 (southern Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

), New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 (Maryland, Texas, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Kansas). In many cases they were originally introduced as ornamental animal
Ornamental animal
An ornamental animal is an animal kept for display or curiosity, often in a park. A wide range of mammals, birds and fish have been kept as ornamental animals...

s in parkland, but have established themselves in the wild. On Spieden Island, located in the San Juan Islands of Washington, they were introduced as a game animal.

In Britain and Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 several distinct feral populations now exist. Some of these are in isolated areas, for example on the island of Lundy
Lundy
Lundy is the largest island in the Bristol Channel, lying off the coast of Devon, England, approximately one third of the distance across the channel between England and Wales. It measures about at its widest. Lundy gives its name to a British sea area and is one of the islands of England.As of...

, but others are contiguous with populations of the native Red Deer
Red Deer
The red deer is one of the largest deer species. Depending on taxonomy, the red deer inhabits most of Europe, the Caucasus Mountains region, Asia Minor, parts of western Asia, and central Asia. It also inhabits the Atlas Mountains region between Morocco and Tunisia in northwestern Africa, being...

. Since the two species sometimes hybridise, there is a serious conservation concern. In research which rated the negative impact of introduced mammals in Europe, the Sika Deer was found to be among the most damaging to the environment and economy along with the Brown rat
Brown Rat
The brown rat, common rat, sewer rat, Hanover rat, Norway rat, Brown Norway rat, Norwegian rat, or wharf rat is one of the best known and most common rats....

 and Muskrat
Muskrat
The muskrat , the only species in genus Ondatra, is a medium-sized semi-aquatic rodent native to North America, and introduced in parts of Europe, Asia, and South America. The muskrat is found in wetlands and is a very successful animal over a wide range of climates and habitats...

.

In the 1900s, King Edward VII
Edward VII of the United Kingdom
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910...

 presented a pair of Sika Deer (Cervus nippon) to John, the second Baron Montagu of Beaulieu
John Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 2nd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu
John Walter Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 2nd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu , was a British Conservative politician and promoter of motoring....

. This pair escaped into Sowley
Sowley Pond
Sowley Pond is a 47.97 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest , in southwest Hampshire, notified in 1971. It is an important refuge for both surface feeding and diving ducks and functions as an integral part of the marshland system of the west Solent.-Location:Sowley Pond is...

 Wood and were the basis of the Sika to be found in the New Forest
New Forest
The New Forest is an area of southern England which includes the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in the heavily-populated south east of England. It covers south-west Hampshire and extends into south-east Wiltshire....

 today. They were so prolific that culling had to be introduced in the 1930s to control numbers.

Hunting

Across its original range and in many areas to which it has been introduced, the Sika is regarded as a particularly prized and elusive sportsman's quarry
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

. In Britain, Ireland and mainland Europe it has been noted that Sika display very different survival strategies and escape tactics from the indigenous
Indigenous (ecology)
In biogeography, a species is defined as native to a given region or ecosystem if its presence in that region is the result of only natural processes, with no human intervention. Every natural organism has its own natural range of distribution in which it is regarded as native...

 deer. They have a marked tendency to use concealment in circumstances when Red Deer, for example, would flee; and have been seen to squat and lie belly-flat when danger threatens.

Hunters and control cullers have estimated that the Sika's wariness and "cleverness" makes it three or four times more difficult to bring to bag than a Red or Fallow deer. It has also been said that Sika are much more tenacious of life, and harder to kill with a rifle bullet, than the native deer of Europe and North America. In the British Isles Sika are widely regarded as a serious threat to new and established woodlands, and public and private forestry bodies adopt policies of rigorous year-round culling.

Velvet antler

Velvet antler
Velvet antler
Velvet antler is a mainstay of traditional Chinese medicine, probably second only to ginseng in importance. Velvet antler does not refer to the velvety "skin" on growing antlers, but rather the whole cartilaginous antler in a pre-calcified stage...

 (dried immature antler
Antler
Antlers are the usually large, branching bony appendages on the heads of most deer species.-Etymology:Antler originally meant the lowest tine, the "brow tine"...

s) is a popular ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage , exercise , and dietary therapy...

, and Sika in China were domesticated long ago for the antler trade, along with several other species. In Taiwan, both Formosan Sika Deer and Formosan Sambar Deer
Sambar Deer
The Sambar ' is a large deer native to southern and southeast Asia. Although it primarily refers to R. unicolor, the name "Sambar" is also sometimes used to refer to the Philippine Deer and the Rusa Deer...

 (Cervus unicolor swinhoei) have been farmed for velvet antlers. Japan is the only country in Eastern Asia where Sika Deer were not farmed for velvet antlers.

Other deer raised for the antler trade were Thorold's Deer
Thorold's Deer
Thorold's deer is a threatened species of deer found in grassland, shrubland and forest at high altitudes in the eastern Tibetan Plateau...

 (Cervus albirostris), Central Asian Red Deer
Central Asian Red Deer
The Central Asian Red Deer is a primordial group of Red deer subspecies, which live in central Asia from the Caspian Sea to western China.Recent DNA studies conducted on hundreds samples from Red Deer and Elk subspecies determined that Red deer and Elk represent two distinct species.The central...

 (Cervus affinis) and Wapiti
Elk
The Elk is the large deer, also called Cervus canadensis or wapiti, of North America and eastern Asia.Elk may also refer to:Other antlered mammals:...

 (Cervus canadensis).

See also

  • Red Deer
    Red Deer
    The red deer is one of the largest deer species. Depending on taxonomy, the red deer inhabits most of Europe, the Caucasus Mountains region, Asia Minor, parts of western Asia, and central Asia. It also inhabits the Atlas Mountains region between Morocco and Tunisia in northwestern Africa, being...

     - European Red Deer
  • Central Asian Red Deer
    Central Asian Red Deer
    The Central Asian Red Deer is a primordial group of Red deer subspecies, which live in central Asia from the Caspian Sea to western China.Recent DNA studies conducted on hundreds samples from Red Deer and Elk subspecies determined that Red deer and Elk represent two distinct species.The central...

     - Asian/Himalayan/Tibetan Red Deer
  • Elk
    Elk
    The Elk is the large deer, also called Cervus canadensis or wapiti, of North America and eastern Asia.Elk may also refer to:Other antlered mammals:...

     - East Asian/North American Red Deer (Wapiti)
  • Thorold's Deer
    Thorold's Deer
    Thorold's deer is a threatened species of deer found in grassland, shrubland and forest at high altitudes in the eastern Tibetan Plateau...

  • Deer of Great Britain
  • Bambi
    Bambi
    Bambi is a 1942 American animated film directed by David Hand , produced by Walt Disney and based on the book Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Austrian author Felix Salten...


Further reading

O'Brien, D.J., Roodey, S.M. and Hayden, T.J. 2009. A differential vulnerability to hunting between the sexes in Sika-type calves. I. Nat. J. 30: 7- 9.

External links

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