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Are red deer and elk the same thing?

GEORGE WALLACE says: What the Americans call an elk is known in Europe and Asia – and also in New Zealand – as wapiti. It is closely related to the red deer and shares the first two parts of the red’s Latin name, cervus elaphus scoticus.

The wapiti is much larger than the red – about twice the weight – but the two can interbreed. I have heard that wapiti were introduced into parts of Scotland some years ago with a view to increasing the size and vigour of the local red deer, but I don’t know if it is true.

In some continental countries hunters take animals each year bearing remarkable heads but these are rarely pure red deer – almost invariably they are wapiti crosses.

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