Red Deer

Red Deer

Overview
The red deer is one of the largest 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...

 species. Depending on taxonomy
Taxonomy
Taxonomy is the science of identifying and naming species, and arranging them into a classification. The field of taxonomy, sometimes referred to as "biological taxonomy", revolves around the description and use of taxonomic units, known as taxa...

, the red deer inhabits most of Europe, the Caucasus Mountains
Caucasus Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains is a mountain system in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region .The Caucasus Mountains includes:* the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and* the Lesser Caucasus Mountains....

 region, Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, parts of western Asia, and central Asia. It also inhabits the Atlas Mountains
Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains is a mountain range across a northern stretch of Africa extending about through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The highest peak is Toubkal, with an elevation of in southwestern Morocco. The Atlas ranges separate the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert...

 region between 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 Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 in northwestern Africa, being the only species of deer to inhabit Africa. Red deer have been introduced to other areas 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...

, 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...

 and Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

. In many parts of the world the meat (venison
Venison
Venison is the meat of a game animal, especially a deer but also other animals such as antelope, wild boar, etc.-Etymology:The word derives from the Latin vēnor...

) from red deer is used as a food source.

Red deer are ruminant
Ruminant
A ruminant is a mammal of the order Artiodactyla that digests plant-based food by initially softening it within the animal's first compartment of the stomach, principally through bacterial actions, then regurgitating the semi-digested mass, now known as cud, and chewing it again...

s, characterized by an even number of toes, and a four-chambered stomach.
Genetic
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 evidence indicates that the red deer (Cervus elaphus) as traditionally defined is a species group
Species group
A species group is an informal taxonomic rank into which an assemblage of closely related species within a genus are grouped because of their morphological similarities and their identity as a biological unit with a single monophyletic origin.-Use:...

 rather than a single species, although it remains disputed exactly how many species the group includes (see Taxonomy).
Discussion
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Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The red deer is one of the largest 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...

 species. Depending on taxonomy
Taxonomy
Taxonomy is the science of identifying and naming species, and arranging them into a classification. The field of taxonomy, sometimes referred to as "biological taxonomy", revolves around the description and use of taxonomic units, known as taxa...

, the red deer inhabits most of Europe, the Caucasus Mountains
Caucasus Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains is a mountain system in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region .The Caucasus Mountains includes:* the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and* the Lesser Caucasus Mountains....

 region, Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, parts of western Asia, and central Asia. It also inhabits the Atlas Mountains
Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains is a mountain range across a northern stretch of Africa extending about through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The highest peak is Toubkal, with an elevation of in southwestern Morocco. The Atlas ranges separate the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert...

 region between 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 Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 in northwestern Africa, being the only species of deer to inhabit Africa. Red deer have been introduced to other areas 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...

, 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...

 and Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

. In many parts of the world the meat (venison
Venison
Venison is the meat of a game animal, especially a deer but also other animals such as antelope, wild boar, etc.-Etymology:The word derives from the Latin vēnor...

) from red deer is used as a food source.

Red deer are ruminant
Ruminant
A ruminant is a mammal of the order Artiodactyla that digests plant-based food by initially softening it within the animal's first compartment of the stomach, principally through bacterial actions, then regurgitating the semi-digested mass, now known as cud, and chewing it again...

s, characterized by an even number of toes, and a four-chambered stomach.
Genetic
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 evidence indicates that the red deer (Cervus elaphus) as traditionally defined is a species group
Species group
A species group is an informal taxonomic rank into which an assemblage of closely related species within a genus are grouped because of their morphological similarities and their identity as a biological unit with a single monophyletic origin.-Use:...

 rather than a single species, although it remains disputed exactly how many species the group includes (see Taxonomy). The ancestor of all red deer probably originated in Central Asia and probably resembled sika deer
Sika Deer
The Sika Deer, Cervus nippon, also known as the Spotted Deer or the Japanese Deer, is a species of deer native to much of East Asia and introduced to various other parts of the world...

.

Although at one time red deer were rare in some areas, they were never close to extinction. Reintroduction and conservation
Habitat conservation
Habitat conservation is a land management practice that seeks to conserve, protect and restore, habitat areas for wild plants and animals, especially conservation reliant species, and prevent their extinction, fragmentation or reduction in range...

 efforts, especially in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, have resulted in an increase of red deer populations, while other areas, such as North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, have continued to show a population decline.

Description


The red deer is the fourth largest deer species behind moose
Moose
The moose or Eurasian elk is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic configuration...

, 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:...

 (wapiti), and 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...

. It is a ruminant, eating its food in two stages and having an even number of toes on each hoof, like camel
Camel
A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia,...

s, goat
Goat
The domestic goat is a subspecies of goat domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the Bovidae family and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over three hundred distinct breeds of...

s and cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

. European red deer have a relatively long tail compared to their Asian and North American relatives. There are subtle differences in appearance between the various subspecies of red deer primarily in size and antlers, with the smallest being the Corsican red deer
Corsican Red Deer
Corsican Red Deer , also known simply as Corsican or Sardinian Deer, is a subspecies of the Red Deer , endemic to the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia, Italy and Corsica, France....

 found on the islands of Corsica
Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

 and Sardinia
Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

 and the largest being the Caspian red deer  (or maral) of Asia Minor and the Caucasus Region to the west of the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

. The deer of Central and Western Europe vary greatly in size with some of the largest deer found in the Carpathian Mountains
Carpathian Mountains
The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians are a range of mountains forming an arc roughly long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the second-longest mountain range in Europe...

 in Central Europe. West European red deer historically, grew to large size given ample food supply (including peoples' crops), and descendants of introduced populations living in 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...

 and Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 have grown quite large in size and antlers. Large red deer stags, like the Caspian red deer or those of the Carpathian Mountains may rival the wapiti
Wapiti
- Animals :* Elk , from the Cree language waapiti, a large deer species native to western North America and eastern Asia- Places :* Wapiti Pass, a mountain pass in British Columbia, Canada...

 in size. Female red deer are much smaller than their male counterparts.

Generally, the male (stag or hart
Hart (deer)
The word hart is an old alternative word for "stag" ....

) red deer is typically 175 to 230 cm (68.9 to 90.6 in) long and weighs 160 to 240 kg (352.7 to 529.1 lb); the female is 160 to 210 cm (63 to 82.7 in) long and weighs 120 to 170 kg (264.6 to 374.8 lb). The tail adds another 12 to 19 cm (4.7 to 7.5 in) and shoulder height is about 105 to 120 cm (41.3 to 47.2 in). Size varies in different subspecies with the largest, the huge but small-antlered deer of the Carpathian Mountains (C. e. elaphus), weighing up to 500 kg (1,102.3 lb). At the other end of the scale, the Corsican red deer (C. e. corsicanus) weighs about 80 to 100 kg (176.4 to 220.5 lb), although red deer in poor habitats can weigh as little as 53 to 112 kg (116.8 to 246.9 lb). European red deer tend to be reddish-brown in their summer coats. The males of many subspecies also grow a short neck mane ("mane" of hair around their necks) during the autumn. The male deer of the British Isles
British Isles
The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...

 and Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 tend to have the thickest and most noticeable neck manes. Male Caspian red deer (Cervus elaphus maral) and Spanish red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) do not carry neck manes. Male deer of all subspecies, however, tend to have stronger and thicker neck muscles than female deer, which may give them an appearance of having neck manes. Red deer hinds (females) do not have neck manes. The European red deer is adapted to a woodland environment.



Only the stags have 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 which start growing in the spring and are shed each year, usually at the end of winter. Antlers are made of bone which can grow at a rate of 2.5 cm (0.984251968503937 in) a day. A soft covering known as velvet helps to protect newly forming antlers in the spring. European red deer antlers are distinctive in being rather straight and rugose, with the fourth and fifth tines forming a "crown" or "cup" in larger males. Any tines in excess of the fourth and fifth tine will grow radially from the "cup". "Cups" are generally absent in the antlers of smaller red deer such as Corsican red deer. West European red deer antlers feature bez (second) tines that are either absent or smaller than the brow tine. However, bez tines occur frequently in Norwegian red deer. Antlers of Caspian red deer carry large bez (second) tines and form less-developed "cups" than West European red deer, their antlers are thus more like the "throw back" top tines of the wapiti (Cervus canadensis sp.)and these are known as maraloid characteristics. A stag can (exceptionally) have antlers with no tines, and is then known as a switch. Similarly, a stag that doesn't grow antlers is a hummel. The antlers are testosterone
Testosterone
Testosterone is a steroid hormone from the androgen group and is found in mammals, reptiles, birds, and other vertebrates. In mammals, testosterone is primarily secreted in the testes of males and the ovaries of females, although small amounts are also secreted by the adrenal glands...

-driven and as the stag's testosterone levels drop in the autumn, the velvet is shed and the antlers stop growing. Red deer produce no testosterone in their bodies while they are growing antler. With the approach of autumn, the antler begin to calcify and the stags testosterone production builds for the approaching rut (mating season).

During the autumn, all red deer subspecies grow a thicker coat of hair which helps to insulate them during the winter. Autumn is also when some of the stags grow their neck manes. It is in the autumn/winter coat that most subspecies are most distinct. The Caspian red deer's winter coat is greyer and has a larger and more distinguished light rump-patch (like Elk and some Central Asian red deer) compared to the West European red deer which has more of a greyish-brown coat with a darker yellowish rump patch in the winter. By the time summer begins, the heavy winter coat has been shed; the animals are known to rub against trees and other objects to help remove hair from their bodies. Red deer have different colouration based on the seasons and types of habitats, with grey or lighter colouration prevalent in the winter and a more reddish and darker coat in the summer. Most European red deer wear a reddish-brown summer coat, and some individuals may have a few spots on the backs of their summer coats.

Distribution


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...

genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 ancestors of red deer first appear in fossil records 12 million years ago during the Miocene
Miocene
The Miocene is a geological epoch of the Neogene Period and extends from about . The Miocene was named by Sir Charles Lyell. Its name comes from the Greek words and and means "less recent" because it has 18% fewer modern sea invertebrates than the Pliocene. The Miocene follows the Oligocene...

 in Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

. An extinct genus known as the Irish Elk
Irish Elk
The Irish Elk or Giant Deer , was a species of Megaloceros and one of the largest deer that ever lived. Its range extended across Eurasia, from Ireland to east of Lake Baikal, during the Late Pleistocene. The latest known remains of the species have been carbon dated to about 7,700 years ago...

 (Megaloceros), not related to the red deer but to the fallow deer
Fallow Deer
The Fallow Deer is a ruminant mammal belonging to the family Cervidae. This common species is native to western Eurasia, but has been introduced widely elsewhere. It often includes the rarer Persian Fallow Deer as a subspecies , while others treat it as an entirely different species The Fallow...

, is the largest member of the deer family known from the fossil record.

In Europe and North Africa


The European red deer is one of the largest game animals
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...

 found in Southwestern Asia (Asia Minor and Caucasus regions), North Africa and Europe. The red deer is the largest non-domesticated mammal still existing in some European countries such as the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 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...

. The Barbary stag
Barbary stag
The Barbary stag , or Atlas deer is a subspecies of red deer that is native to North Africa.-Description:...

 (which resembles the West European red deer) is the only member of the deer family that is represented in Africa, with population centred in the northwestern region of the continent in the Atlas Mountains
Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains is a mountain range across a northern stretch of Africa extending about through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The highest peak is Toubkal, with an elevation of in southwestern Morocco. The Atlas ranges separate the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert...

. As of the mid 1990s, 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...

, Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 and Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 were the only African countries known to have red deer.

In the UK there are indigenous populations in 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...

, the Lake District
Lake District
The Lake District, also commonly known as The Lakes or Lakeland, is a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous not only for its lakes and its mountains but also for its associations with the early 19th century poetry and writings of William Wordsworth...

 and the South West of England (principally on Exmoor
Exmoor
Exmoor is an area of hilly open moorland in west Somerset and north Devon in South West England, named after the main river that flows out of the district, the River Exe. The moor has given its name to a National Park, which includes the Brendon Hills, the East Lyn Valley, the Vale of Porlock and ...

). Not all of these are of entirely pure bloodlines as some of these populations have been supplemented with deliberate releases of deer from parks like Warnham or Woburn Abbey
Woburn Abbey
Woburn Abbey , near Woburn, Bedfordshire, England, is a country house, the seat of the Duke of Bedford and the location of the Woburn Safari Park.- Pre-20th century :...

 in an attempt to increase antler sizes and body weights. Edinburgh University found that in Scotland there has been extensive hybridisation with the closely related sika deer
Sika Deer
The Sika Deer, Cervus nippon, also known as the Spotted Deer or the Japanese Deer, is a species of deer native to much of East Asia and introduced to various other parts of the world...

. There are several other populations that have originated either with carted deer kept for stag hunts being left out at the end of the hunt, escapes from deer farms or deliberate releases. Carted deer were kept by stag hunts with no wild red deer in the locality and were normally recaptured after the hunt and used again; although the hunts are called "stag hunts" the Norwich Staghounds only hunted hinds (female red deer) and in 1950 at least eight hinds (some of which may have been pregnant) were known to be at large near Kimberley and West Harling and formed the basis of a new population based in Thetford Forest
Thetford Forest
Thetford Forest is the largest lowland pine forest in Britain, Thetford Forest Park is located in a region straddling the north of Suffolk and the south of Norfolk in England...

 in Norfolk
Norfolk
Norfolk is a low-lying county in the East of England. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast and to the north-west the county is bordered by The Wash. The county...

. There are now further substantial red deer herds that originated from escapes or deliberate releases 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....

, the Peak District
Peak District
The Peak District is an upland area in central and northern England, lying mainly in northern Derbyshire, but also covering parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, and South and West Yorkshire....

, Suffolk
Suffolk
Suffolk is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in East Anglia, England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east...

, Brecon Beacons
Brecon Beacons
The Brecon Beacons is a mountain range in South Wales. In a narrow sense, the name refers to the range of popular peaks south of Brecon, including South Wales' highest mountain, Pen y Fan, and which together form the central section of the Brecon Beacons National Park...

 and West Yorkshire
West Yorkshire
West Yorkshire is a metropolitan county within the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England with a population of 2.2 million. West Yorkshire came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972....

 as well as many other smaller populations scattered throughout England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, and they are all generally increasing in numbers and range. A recent census of deer populations in 2007 coordinated by the British Deer Society records red deer as having expanded range their range in England and Wales since 2000, with expansion most notable in the Midlands and East Anglia.

Red deer populations in Africa and southern Europe are generally declining.

As an alien species


In 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...

, and to a lesser degree in 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...

, the red deer were introduced by acclimatisation societies along with other deer and game species. The first red deer to reach New Zealand were a pair sent by Lord Petre in 1851 from his herd at Thorndon Park, Essex to the South Island but the hind was shot before they had a chance to breed. Lord Petre sent another stag and two hinds in 1861 and these were liberated near Nelson from where they quickly spread. The first deer to reach the North Island were a gift to Sir Frederick Weld from Windsor Great Park and were released near Wellington and these were followed by further releases up to 1914. Between 1851 and 1926 there were 220 separate liberations of red deer involving over 800 deer. In 1927 the State Forest Service introduced a bounty for red deer shot on their land and in 1931 Government control operations were commenced and between 1931 and March 1975 1,124,297 deer were killed on official operations.

In New Zealand introduced red deer have adapted much better and are widely hunted on both islands, many of the 220 introductions used deer originating from Scotland (Invermark) or one of the major deer parks in England, principally Warnham, Woburn Abbey
Woburn Abbey
Woburn Abbey , near Woburn, Bedfordshire, England, is a country house, the seat of the Duke of Bedford and the location of the Woburn Safari Park.- Pre-20th century :...

 or Windsor Great Park
Windsor Great Park
Windsor Great Park is a large deer park of , to the south of the town of Windsor on the border of Berkshire and Surrey in England. The park was, for many centuries, the private hunting ground of Windsor Castle and dates primarily from the mid-13th century...

. There is some hybridisation with the closely related wapiti or American elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) introduced in Fiordland in 1921. New Zealand red deer produce very large antlers and are regarded as amongst the best in the world by hunters. Along with the other introduced deer species they are however officially regarded as a noxious pest and are still heavily culled using professional hunters working with helicopters, or even poisoned.

The first red deer to reach Australia were probably the six that Prince Albert sent in 1860 from Windsor Great Park to Thomas Chirnside who was starting a herd at Werribee Park, south west of Melbourne in Victora. Further introductions were made in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. Today the red deer range in Australia ranges from Queensland down through New South Wales into Victoria and across to South Australia, with the numbers increasing. The Queensland, Victorian and most New South Wales strains can still be traced to the early releases, but South Australia's population along with all others is now largely recent farmed escapees. This is having adverse affects on the integrity of wild herds as now more and more larger herds are being grown due to the superior genetics that have been attained by select breeding.

In Argentina and Chile the red deer has had a potentially adverse impact on native animal species such as the South Andean Deer
South Andean Deer
The South Andean Deer, Hippocamelus bisulcus, also known as the Huemul , is an endangered species of deer native to the mountains of Argentina and Chile. One of two mid-sized deer of the Hippocamelus genus, the South Andean Deer ranges across the high mountainsides and cold valleys of the Andes...

 or Huemul, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources has labelled the animal as one of the world's 100 worst invaders.

Migration


Red deer in Europe generally spend their winters at lower altitudes in more wooded terrain. During the summer, they migrate to higher elevations where food supplies are greater and better for the calving season.

Taxonomy


Until recently biologists considered that red deer and wapiti
Wapiti
- Animals :* Elk , from the Cree language waapiti, a large deer species native to western North America and eastern Asia- Places :* Wapiti Pass, a mountain pass in British Columbia, Canada...

 or elk (C. canadensis) were the same species, forming a continuous distribution throughout temperate Eurasia and North America. This belief was based largely on the fully fertile hybrids that can be produced under captive conditions.

Genetic
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 evidence suggests that the wapiti/elk and 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...

 should be treated as species separate from the red deer. If the Central Asian red deer (from the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 to western China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

) is recognized as a species, it includes the Yarkand Deer
Yarkand deer
The Yarkand deer is a subspecies of Red Deer that is native to central Asia. It is similar in ecology to the Bactrian deer in occupying lowland riparian corridors surrounded by deserts...

 and Bactrian Deer
Bactrian deer
The Bactrian deer , also called the Bukhara deer, Bokhara deer or Bactrian wapiti, is a lowland subspecies of Red Deer that is native to central Asia. It is similar in ecology to the Yarkand deer in occupying riparian corridors surrounded by deserts...

 (the two may be synonymous
Synonym (taxonomy)
In scientific nomenclature, a synonym is a scientific name that is or was used for a taxon of organisms that also goes by a different scientific name. For example, Linnaeus was the first to give a scientific name to the Norway spruce, which he called Pinus abies...

), but it could possibly also include the Kashmir Stag
Kashmir stag
The Kashmir stag , also called hangul, is a subspecies of Red Deer native to northern Pakistan and India, especially in Jammu and Kashmir where it is the state animal.-Description:...

, which has not been sampled in recent studies. If it is included in the Central Asian red deer, the scientific name of that species is C. hanglu. If it is not included in the Central Asian Deer, the scientific name of that species is C. yarkandensis, and the Kashmir Stag (C. hanglu) may represent a separate monotypic
Monotypic
In biology, a monotypic taxon is a taxonomic group with only one biological type. The term's usage differs slightly between botany and zoology. The term monotypic has a separate use in conservation biology, monotypic habitat, regarding species habitat conversion eliminating biodiversity and...

 species.
Others members of the red deer group that some believe represent separate species are C. corsicanus
Corsican Red Deer
Corsican Red Deer , also known simply as Corsican or Sardinian Deer, is a subspecies of the Red Deer , endemic to the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia, Italy and Corsica, France....

, C. wallichii
Tibetan red deer
The Tibetan red deer also known as shou is a subspecies of Wapiti that is native to the southern Tibetan highlands and Bhutan.-Description:...

and C. xanthopygus
Manchurian wapiti
The Manchurian wapiti is a subspecies of elk, native to eastern Asia.-Description:This deer is reddish brown during summer, and brownish gray in winter. It has dark hairs on the neck and dark underparts, followed by a light-colored rump patch...

. If so, C. corsicanus includes the 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...

 barbarus
Barbary stag
The Barbary stag , or Atlas deer is a subspecies of red deer that is native to North Africa.-Description:...

(perhaps a synonym
Synonym (taxonomy)
In scientific nomenclature, a synonym is a scientific name that is or was used for a taxon of organisms that also goes by a different scientific name. For example, Linnaeus was the first to give a scientific name to the Norway spruce, which he called Pinus abies...

 of corsicanus), and is restricted to Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

 in north Africa, Corsica
Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

 and Sardinia
Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

. C. wallichii would probably include the subspecies kansuensis
Kansu red deer
The Kansu Red Deer is a subspecies of wapiti found in the Gansu province of China. This subspecies forms, along with the closely related Sichuan deer, and Tibetan red deer, the southernmost wapiti group ....

and macneilli
Sichuan deer
The Sichuan deer also known as MacNeill's deer is a subspecies of Wapiti native to Western China.-Description:...

(both are perhaps synonyms of wallichii), and would be found from Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

 to central China. C. xanthopygus would probably include the subspecies alashanicus
Alashan wapiti
The Alashan Wapiti is a subspecies of elk found in Northern China and Mongolia. It is the smallest subspecies of elk, has the lightest color, and is the least studied, other than the extinct Merriam's Elk....

(perhaps a synonym of xanthopygus), and would be found from 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...

 to northeastern China. This would restrict the "true" red deer (C. elaphus) to 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...

, Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

, Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 and northwestern Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, and the elk/wapiti (C. canadensis) to North America and the Asian regions of Tian Shan
Tian Shan
The Tian Shan , also spelled Tien Shan, is a large mountain system located in Central Asia. The highest peak in the Tian Shan is Victory Peak , ....

, Altai and Great Khingan. Alternatively, the barbarus group are subspecies of the "true" red deer, while the wallichii and xanthopygus groups are subspecies of the elk/wapiti.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature originally listed nine subspecies of red deer (Cervus elaphus): three as endangered
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

, one as vulnerable
Vulnerable species
On 30 January 2010, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species identified 9694 Vulnerable species, subspecies and varieties, stocks and sub-populations.-References:...

, one as near threatened
Near Threatened
Near Threatened is a conservation status assigned to species or lower taxa that may be considered threatened with extinction in the near future, although it does not currently qualify for the threatened status...

, and four without enough data to give a category (Data Deficient
Data Deficient
Data Deficient is a category applied by the IUCN, other agencies, and individuals to a species when the available information is not sufficient for a proper assessment of conservation status to be made...

). The species as a whole, however, is listed as least concern
Least Concern
Least Concern is an IUCN category assigned to extant taxon or lower taxa which have been evaluated but do not qualify for any other category. As such they do not qualify as threatened, Near Threatened, or Conservation Dependent...

. However, this was based on the traditional classification of red deer as one species (Cervus elaphus), including the Elk. The Western European red deer is also known as simply red deer

Selected members of the red deer species group
Species group
A species group is an informal taxonomic rank into which an assemblage of closely related species within a genus are grouped because of their morphological similarities and their identity as a biological unit with a single monophyletic origin.-Use:...

 are listed in the below table. Of the ones listed, hippelaphys, scoticus and bactrianus may all be junior synonyms.
Name Subspecies Status Historical range
Western European red deer
Cervus elaphus elaphus Western Europe
Eastern European red deer Cervus elaphus hippelaphus Eastern Europe, Balkan
Maral Cervus elaphus maral Asia Minor, Crimea, Caucasus Region and northwestern Iran
Scottish red deer
Scottish red deer
The Scottish Red Deer is a subspecies of red deer which is native to the British Isles.-Description:This deer is slightly smaller than other Western European red deer. In summer, the coat is lighter in colour with a distinct border to the lighter patch on the rump. The rest of the colour is dark...

Cervus elaphus scoticus Scotland
Corsican red deer
Corsican Red Deer
Corsican Red Deer , also known simply as Corsican or Sardinian Deer, is a subspecies of the Red Deer , endemic to the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia, Italy and Corsica, France....


Cervus elaphus corsicanus Near Threatened (NT) Corsica, Sardinia
Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

; probably introduced in historical times and identical with Barbary stag
Kashmir stag
Kashmir stag
The Kashmir stag , also called hangul, is a subspecies of Red Deer native to northern Pakistan and India, especially in Jammu and Kashmir where it is the state animal.-Description:...


Cervus elaphus hanglu Endangered (D) Kashmir
Bactrian deer
Bactrian deer
The Bactrian deer , also called the Bukhara deer, Bokhara deer or Bactrian wapiti, is a lowland subspecies of Red Deer that is native to central Asia. It is similar in ecology to the Yarkand deer in occupying riparian corridors surrounded by deserts...


Cervus elaphus bactrianus Vulnerable (D1) Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Usbekistan and Tadschikistan
Yarkand deer
Yarkand deer
The Yarkand deer is a subspecies of Red Deer that is native to central Asia. It is similar in ecology to the Bactrian deer in occupying lowland riparian corridors surrounded by deserts...

Cervus elaphus yarkandensis Endangered (A1a) Xinjiang




Behaviour



Mature red deer (Cervus elaphus) usually stay in single-sex groups for most of the year. During the mating ritual, called 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....

, mature stags compete for the attentions of the hinds and will then try to defend hinds that they attract. Rival stags challenge opponents by belling and walking in parallel. This allows combatants to assess each other's antlers, body size and fighting prowess. If neither stag backs down, a clash of antlers can occur, and stags sometimes sustain serious injuries.

Dominant stags follow groups of hinds during the rut, from August into early winter. The stags may have as many as 20 hinds to keep from other less attractive males. Only mature stags hold harems (groups of hinds) and breeding success peaks at about 8 years of age. Stags 2–4 years old rarely hold harems and spend most of the rut on the periphery of larger harems, as do stags over 11 years old. Young and old stags that do acquire a harem hold it later in the breeding season than those stags in their prime. Harem holding stags rarely feed and lose up to 20% of their body weight. Stags that enter the rut in poor condition are less likely to make it through to the peak conception period.

Male European red deer have a distinctive "roar"-like-sound (not to be confused with actual roars made by lions, panthers and the like) during the rut, which is an adaptation to forested environments, as opposed to male wapiti (or American elk) which "bugle" during the rut in adaptation to open environments. The male deer roars to keep his harem of females together. The females are initially attracted to those males that both roar most often and have the loudest roar call. Males also use the roar call when competing with other males for females during the rut, and along with other forms of posturing and antler fights, is a method used by the males to establish dominance. Roaring is most common during the early dawn and late evening, which is also when the crepuscular deer are most active in general.

Breeding, gestation and lifespan


Red deer mating patterns usually involve a dozen or more mating
Mating
In biology, mating is the pairing of opposite-sex or hermaphroditic organisms for copulation. In social animals, it also includes the raising of their offspring. Copulation is the union of the sex organs of two sexually reproducing animals for insemination and subsequent internal fertilization...

 attempts before the first successful one. There may be several more matings before the stag will seek out another mate in his harem. Females in their second autumn can produce one and very rarely two offspring per year. The gestation
Gestation
Gestation is the carrying of an embryo or fetus inside a female viviparous animal. Mammals during pregnancy can have one or more gestations at the same time ....

 period is 240 and 262 days and the offspring weigh about 15 kg (33.1 lb). After two weeks, fawns are able to join the herd and are fully weaned after two months. All red deer fawns are born spotted, as is common with many deer species, and lose their spots by the end of summer. However, as in many species of Old World Deer, some adults do retain a few spots on the backs of their summer coats. The offspring will remain with their mothers for almost one full year, leaving around the time that the next season offspring are produced. The gestation period is the same for all subspecies.

Red deer live up to over 20 years in captivity and in the wild they average 10 to 13 years, though some subspecies with less predation pressure average 15 years.


Protection from predators


Male red deer retain their antlers for more than half the year and are less gregarious and less likely to group with other males when they have antlers. The antlers provide self-defence as does a strong front-leg kicking action which is performed by both sexes when attacked. Once the antlers are shed, stags tend to form bachelor groups which allow them to cooperatively work together. Herds tend to have one or more members watching for potential danger while the remaining members eat and rest.

After the rut, females form large herds of up to 50 individuals. The newborn calves are kept close to the hinds by a series of vocalizations between the two, and larger nurseries have an ongoing and constant chatter during the daytime hours. When approached by predators, the largest and most robust females may make a stand, using their front legs to kick at their attackers. Guttural grunts and posturing is used with all but the most determined of predators with great effectiveness. Aside from humans and domestic dogs, the Wolf
Gray Wolf
The gray wolf , also known as the wolf, is the largest extant wild member of the Canidae family...

 is probably the most dangerous predator that most European red deer encounter. Occasionally, the Brown bear
Brown Bear
The brown bear is a large bear distributed across much of northern Eurasia and North America. It can weigh from and its largest subspecies, the Kodiak Bear, rivals the polar bear as the largest member of the bear family and as the largest land-based predator.There are several recognized...

 will predate on European red deer as well. Eurasian Lynx
Eurasian Lynx
The Eurasian lynx is a medium-sized cat native to European and Siberian forests, South Asia and East Asia. It is also known as the European lynx, common lynx, the northern lynx, and the Siberian or Russian lynx...

 and wild boar
Boar
Wild boar, also wild pig, is a species of the pig genus Sus, part of the biological family Suidae. The species includes many subspecies. It is the wild ancestor of the domestic pig, an animal with which it freely hybridises...

s sometimes prey on the calves. The leopard
Leopard
The leopard , Panthera pardus, is a member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four "big cats" in the genus Panthera, the other three being the tiger, lion, and jaguar. The leopard was once distributed across eastern and southern Asia and Africa, from Siberia to South Africa, but its...

 in Asia Minor (now extinct) probably preyed on East European red deer. Both Barbary Lion
Barbary Lion
The Barbary lion , also known as the Atlas lion or Nubian lion, is a subspecies of lion that became extinct in the wild or extinct in the 20th century....

 and Barbary Leopard
Barbary leopard
The Barbary Leopard or North African Leopard has been described originally as a separate subspecies of the leopard. It is native to the Atlas Mountains of North Africa...

 probably once preyed on Atlas stag
Barbary stag
The Barbary stag , or Atlas deer is a subspecies of red deer that is native to North Africa.-Description:...

s in the Atlas Mountains, although Barbary Lion is now extinct in the wild, and Barbary Leopard either very rare or extinct.

Red deer in folklore and art


Red deer are widely depicted in cave art
Cave painting
Cave paintings are paintings on cave walls and ceilings, and the term is used especially for those dating to prehistoric times. The earliest European cave paintings date to the Aurignacian, some 32,000 years ago. The purpose of the paleolithic cave paintings is not known...

 and are found throughout European caves, with some of the artwork dating from as early as 40,000 years ago, during the Upper Paleolithic
Upper Paleolithic
The Upper Paleolithic is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. Very broadly it dates to between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, roughly coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity and before the advent of...

. Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

n cave art from the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 of 7,000 years ago has abundant depictions of red deer, including what can be described as spiritual artwork, indicating the importance of this mammal to the peoples of that region (Note: these animals were most likely wapiti (Cervus canadensis) in Siberia, not red deer).
Red deer are also often depicted on Pictish stones (c.550–850 AD), from the early medieval period in Scotland, usually as prey animals for human or animal predators. In Medieval hunting
Medieval hunting
Throughout Western Europe in the Middle Ages, men hunted wild animals. While game was at times an important source of food, it was rarely the principal source of nutrition. Hunting was engaged by all classes, but by the High Middle Ages, the necessity of hunting was transformed into a stylized...

 the red deer was the most prestigious quarry, especially the mature stag, which in England was called a 'hart
Hart (deer)
The word hart is an old alternative word for "stag" ....

'.

Red deer products


Red deer are held in captivity for a variety of reasons. The meat of the deer, called venison, is not generally harvested for human consumption on a large scale, though speciality restaurants seasonally offer venison which is widely considered to be both flavourful and nutritious. Venison is higher in protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

 and lower in fat
Fat
Fats consist of a wide group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and generally insoluble in water. Chemically, fats are triglycerides, triesters of glycerol and any of several fatty acids. Fats may be either solid or liquid at room temperature, depending on their structure...

 than either beef
Beef
Beef is the culinary name for meat from bovines, especially domestic cattle. Beef can be harvested from cows, bulls, heifers or steers. It is one of the principal meats used in the cuisine of the Middle East , Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Europe and the United States, and is also important in...

 or chicken
Chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

. In some countries in central Asia, elk is still hunted as a primary source of meat.

The red deer can produce 10 to 15 kg (22 to 33.1 lb) of antler velvet annually. On ranches in 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...

, China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

, and elsewhere this velvet is collected and sold to markets in East Asia, where it is used for holistic medicine
Holistic health
Holistic health is a concept in medical practice upholding that all aspects of people's needs, psychological, physical and social should be taken into account and seen as a whole. As defined above, the holistic view on treatment is widely accepted in medicine...

s, with 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...

 being the primary consumer. In 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...

, a medication produced from antler velvet is sold under the brand name Pantokrin .
The antlers themselves are also believed by East Asians to have medicinal purposes and are often ground up and used in small quantities.

Historically, related deer species such as Central Asian 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...

, and sika deer
Sika Deer
The Sika Deer, Cervus nippon, also known as the Spotted Deer or the Japanese Deer, is a species of deer native to much of East Asia and introduced to various other parts of the world...

 have been reared on deer farms in Central and Eastern Asia by Han Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

, Turkic peoples
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

, Tungusic peoples
Tungusic peoples
Tungusic peoples are the peoples who speak Tungusic languages. The word originated in Tunguska, an ill-defined region of Siberia.-Peoples:Tungusic peoples are:*Evenks*Evens*Jurchens *Manchu*Negidals...

, Mongolians, and Koreans. In modern times, Western countries such as New Zealand and United States have taken to farming European red deer for similar purposes.

Deer antlers are also highly sought after worldwide for decorative purposes and have been used for artwork, furniture and other novelty items.

Further reading


External links