Sika Cervus nippon (Temminck, 1838)


English: Sika Deer; French: Sika; Bulgarian: Elen Sika; Chinese: Mei-hua-lu; Croatian: Jelen Sika; Czech: sika zver; Danish: Sika; Hungarian: Szikaszarvas; Irish: Fia Leapànach; Japanese: Ryukyu-inoshishi, Kyusyu-jika, Yaku-shika, Mage-shika, Kerama-jika, Honshu-jika, Ezo-shika; Korean: Sika Sareum: Lithuanian: Dèmètasis elnias; Montenigrin: elen sika; Norwegian: Sikahjort; Polish: Sika; Russian: Pjatnisstij Olen; Serb: jelen sika; Slovakian: sika zver; Slovenian: jelen sika; Swedish: Sika.

Former distribution: Amur-Ussuri region in the USSR; Korea, Heilongjiang (Manchuria), south to eastern China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan and adjoining islands.
Present distribution: USSR, Sichote-Alin Reserve, Korea and Heilongjiang, Japan, Kyushu Islands, Taiwan, in China in the Shaanxi and Shanxi Province, along the lower Yangtze valley. Introduced into northern Mongolia (Suche Bator), New Zealand, Australia, USA, Madagascar, Europe, USSR, Morocco.
Behaviour: Preferred habitat: deciduous forests with dense undergrowth; active at twilight, and nocturnal. Diet includes herbs, fruits, leaves and farm crops. The rut takes place from mid-October to mid-November. Old males are often solitary, the females stay in small family groups. Sika Deer are good swimmers. Predators are wolves, dholes.
Population status: Endangered in China, USSR, Taiwan, Ryukyu Islands. Stable in Japan; Formosa: 200-300; Ryukyu: 30; China and Vietnam: No records. Stable in the regions of introduction.
Brief notes:
Body weight: 100-130 kg
Head and body length: 170-190 cm
Tail length: 15-20 cm
Shoulder height: 100-115 cm
Gestation period: 218-229 days
Maximum age: 11-14 years; 18-21 years in captivity
Trophy: Record SCI: Cervus n. nippon: 158 3/8 score, 1966 England, RICARDO MEDEM; average 70 score. 136 6/8 score, 1985 New Zealand, JACK H. SHEPHERD; average 60 score. 130 5/8 score, 1984 Hondo, Japan, RICHARD SHINDLE; average 72 score. RW’s: Cervus n. nippon: 28 3/8″, 1913 Japan, J.C. PHILIPS. Cervus n. taioanus: 24 3/8″, 1977 Austria, H.I.H. PRINCE ABDORREZA. Cervus n. mantchuricus: 27 3/4″, 1969 England, H.I.H. Prince ABDORREZA. Cervus n. hortulorum: 34 1/4″, 1906 Manchuria, British Museum. CIC: Cervus n. nippon: 317.80 points. New Zealand, n.n.; average 225 points. Cervus n. nippon: 277.70 points, 1977 Poland; average 225 points. Cervus n. nippon: 244.80 points, 1974 CSSR, J. HROMIR.
Hunting methods: Stalking, high seat, with beaters.
Subspecies: 10, 8 Palaearctic, acc. to WEMMER (1982), 2 Indo-Malayan region
1. Cervus n. nippon Japan; Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, Yakushima, Mageshima and Goto Islands. Stable. Estimated numbers: 3800.
2. Cervus n. pseudaxis South-eastern China and South Vietnam. Probably endangered. Estimated numbers: No records.
3. Cervus n. sichuanicus China; Sichuan (Szechwan), Gansu (Kansu) Stable. Estimated numbers: No records.
4. Cervus n. mantchuricus China; Heilongjiang (Manchuria), Korea. Stable. Estimated numbers: No records.
5. Cervus n.yesoensis Japan; Hokkaido, and Honshu. Stable. Estimated numbers: 12 800.
6. Cervus n. aplodontos Japan; northern Honshu. Stable. Estimated numbers: No records.
7. Cervus n. keramae Ryukyu Islands. Endangered. Estimated numbers: No records.
8. Cervus n. pulchellus Tsushima. Rare. Estimated numbers: No records.
Indo-Malayan region
9. Cervus n. taiouanus Taiwan. Endangered. Estimated numbers: 200-300.
10. Cervus n. soloensis Jolo Islands, Sulu Archipelago. Rare. Estimated numbers: no records.
Remarks: Reasons for some subspecies becoming endangered include habitat destruction, competition with livestock, and the increase of the human population. Sika Deer are kept on many game farms in China, USSR; this led to interbreeding with different subspecies, such as C.n. hortulorum, C.n. mandarinus; C.n. kopschi is syn. to C.n. pseudaxis, C.n. grassianus to C.n. mantchuricus; C.n. mageshimae and C.n. yakushimae are syn. to C.n. nippon; Sika and Wapiti hybridize in USSR, Red Deer and Sika hybridize in Europe.