Sika Deer pp 549-560 | Cite as

Sika Deer in Taiwan

  • Dale R. McCullough

The Taiwan sika deer (Cervus nippon taiouanus) migrated to the island during land-bridge periods (40,000 to 10,000 years before present), presumably from an adjacent mainland China stock that later became extinct. On Taiwan they were found mainly at low elevation habitats around the island and reached greatest abundance on the large western coastal plain. They were heavily exploited during the European colonial period, serving as currency and export items for international trade and, consequently, disappeared early from all but the more remote parts of their historic range. At the same time, their habitat was usurped for agricultural development. Exploitation for subsistence and velvet antler for the Chinese medicine market continued on the remote remnant pockets of survivors until the last known sika deer in the wild was killed in 1969. Fortunately there were many sika in private ownership, including stocks at the Taipei Zoo and on Green Island off the east coast of Taiwan. Establishment of a captive breeding facility at Kenting National Park at the southern tip of the island, stocked mainly with animals from the Taipei Zoo, resulted in increased numbers, and the eventual release of deer to the wild where they now number around 400 head (Pei chapter 38). A separate release of sika deer from captivity on Green Island has resulted in a second free-roaming population of several hundred animals. Although not now seriously threatened with extinction, to achieve full recovery it is desirable to establish a third population in the central or northern part of the island further removed from the two existing wild populations.


Sika Deer Captive Breeding Taiwan Strait Captive Breeding Program Clouded Leopard 
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  • Dale R. McCullough

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