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Sika Deer pp 573-594 | Cite as

Sika Deer in Continental Europe

  • Ludĕk Bartoš

In this chapter I review the history of introduction of sika to continental Europe by country and summarize their acclimatization to the local environment. Beginning about 150 years ago sika deer were introduced into most of the countries in western, central, and eastern Europe; northern and southern countries were less affected. Besides free-ranging feral populations, there are an unknown number of deer parks, zoological gardens, and farms containing sika deer. With consistent growth of deer farming in Europe, there is increased interest in captive breeding of sika. Due to anatomical and behavioral features, sika appear to be successful competitors with local deer species. Although characterized as sedentary, they have the capability to migrate long distances. Frequently lone individuals, usually males, appear in areas with no established sika deer where they join red deer. In the beginning, imported sika occasionally interbred with other species, such as red deer, hog deer, and axis, mostly by coincidence. Most published records described the hybrids as due to a break of the geographical isolation between species. Nevertheless, sika and red deer (Manchurian wapiti, Cervus elaphus xanthopygus) hybridize naturally where they overlap in Far East Russia. In many areas where sika coexist with red deer, it is still believed by many hunters that no interbreeding has occurred, despite massive evidence to the contrary, including modern genetic techniques. Disregard of hybridization has resulting in introgression of sika and red deer genes in many areas. Still, there is no general wildlife management strategy in continental Europe to realize the danger and to solve the situation, and free-ranging sika populations further increase in numbers.

Keywords

Sika Deer Fallow Deer Akademii Nauk SSSR Feral Population Zoological Garden 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ludĕk Bartoš
    • 1
  1. 1.Professor of Ethology, Department of EthologyInstitute of Animal SciencePraha UhrćnevesCzech Republic

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