The Assateague
Naturalist

Picture Picture
Picture The Sika Elk (Cervus nippon)
You're most likely to find Sika elk along the main road (map) on Assateague near the refuge visitor center where these photos where taken.

The Sika elk--originally from Japan, Korea, and China--were released on the island in the 1920's. Smaller than the native Virginia white-tailed deer on the island, a Sika can be distinguished by its white spots and rump.

Like the island's ponies, the Sika's diet includes marsh grasses and other plants. Sikas breed in the fall and after about seven months give birth to a single new sika in the summer.

Sikas have been introduced in a number of other areas of the United States, particularly in Texas and Oklahoma.

See also:
Chincoteague Natural History Association
- Chincoteague Refuge Sikas
- Hunting on the Refuge

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