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Elk
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Suborder: Ruminantia
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Cervinae
Genus: Cervus
Species: C. canadensis
Binomial name
Cervus canadensis
(Erxleben, 1777)[1]
Range of Cervus canadensis
Synonyms

various Cervus elaphus subspecies

The elk, or wapiti (Cervus canadensis), is one of the largest species of deer in the world and one of the largest mammals in North America and eastern Asia. In the deer family (Cervidae), only the moose, Alces alces (called an "elk" in Europe), is larger, and Cervus unicolor (the sambar deer) can rival the C. canadensis elk in size. Elk are almost identical to red deer found in Europe, of which they were long believed to be a subspecies; however, mitochondrial DNA evidence from 2004 strongly suggests they are a distinct species.

Elk range in forest and forest-edge habitat, feeding on grasses, plants, leaves, and bark. Although native to North America and eastern Asia, they have adapted well to countries where they have been introduced, including New Zealand, Australia and Argentina. Their great adaptability may threaten endemic species and ecosystems into which they have been introduced.

Male elk have large antlers which are shed each year. Males engage in ritualized mating behaviors during the rut, including posturing, antler wrestling (sparring), and bugling, a loud series of vocalizations which establishes dominance over other males and attracts females.

Elk are susceptible to a number of infectious diseases, some of which can be transmitted to livestock. Efforts to eliminate infectious diseases from elk populations, largely through vaccination, have had mixed success.

Some cultures revere the elk as a spiritual force. In parts of Asia, antlers and their velvet are used in traditional medicines. Elk are hunted as a game species; the meat is leaner and higher in protein than beef or chicken.[2]

Contents

Naming and etymology

Early European explorers in North America, who were familiar with the smaller red deer of Europe, believed that the much larger North American animal looked more like a moose, so they used the common European name for the moose, which is elk. The name elk is connected with the Latin alces, and with Old Norse elgr, Scandinavian elg, and German Elch,[3] all of which refer to the animal known in North America as the moose. The name wapiti is from the Shawnee word waapiti, meaning white rump.[4] The elk is also referred to as the maral in Asia, though this is due to confusion with the East European red deer (Cervus elaphus maral), which is a subspecies of European red deer. There is a subspecies of elk in Mongolia called the Altai maral (Cervus canadensis sibiricus), which is also known by names such as Altai wapiti, Siberian wapiti, and/or Siberian elk.

Taxonomy

Elk at the Opal terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park

Cervus genus ancestors of elk first appear in the fossil record 12 million years ago, during the Pliocene in Eurasia, but do not appear in the North American fossil record until the later Pleistocene ice ages when they crossed the Bering land bridge.[5] The extinct Irish Elk (Megaloceros) was not a member of the genus Cervus, but rather the largest member of the wider deer family (Cervidae) known from the fossil record.[6]

Until 2004, red deer and elk were considered to be one species, Cervus elaphus, based on fertile hybrids that have been produced in captivity. Recent mitochondrial DNA studies, conducted on hundreds of samples from red deer and elk subspecies as well as other species of the Cervus deer family, strongly suggest that elk, or wapiti, form a distinct species C. canadensis.[7] The previous classification had over a dozen subspecies under the C. elaphus species designation; DNA evidence concludes that elk are more closely related to Thorold's deer and even sika deer than they are to the red deer.[7] Though elk and red deer can produce fertile offspring in captivity, geographic isolation between the species in the wild and differences in mating behaviors indicate that reproduction between them outside a controlled environment would be unlikely.Although the two species have freely inter-bred in New Zealand's Fiordland National Park, where the cross-bred animals have all but removed the pure Wapiti blood from the area.[8]

Subspecies

There are numerous subspecies of elk described: six from North America and four from Asia, although some taxonomists consider them different ecotypes or races of the same species (adapted to local environments through minor changes in appearance and behavior). Populations vary as to antler shape and size, body size, coloration and mating behavior. DNA investigations of the Eurasian subspecies revealed that phenotypic variation in antlers, mane and rump patch development are based on "climatic-related lifestyle factors".[9]

Audubon's "Eastern Elk" which is now extinct

Of the six subspecies of elk known to have inhabited North America in historical times, four remain, including the Roosevelt (C. canadensis roosevelti), Tule (C. canadensis nannodes), Manitoban (C. canadensis manitobensis) and Rocky Mountain (C. canadensis nelsoni).[10] The Eastern Elk (C. canadensis canadensis) and Merriam's Elk (C. canadensis merriami) subspecies have been extinct for at least a century.[11][12] Classification of the four surviving North American groups as subspecies is maintained, at least partly, for political purposes to permit individualized conservation and protective measures for each of the surviving populations.[13]

Four subspecies described in Asia include the Altai Wapiti (C. canadensis sibiricus) and the Tianshan Wapiti (C. canadensis songaricus) . Two distinct subspecies found in China and Korea are the Manchurian wapiti (C. canadensis xanthopygus) and the Alashan wapitis (C. canadensis alashanicus).The Manchurian wapiti is darker and more reddish in coloration than the other populations. The Alashan wapiti of north central China is the smallest of all subspecies, has the lightest coloration and is the least studied.[8] Valerius Geist, who has written on the world's various deer species, holds that there are only three subspecies of elk. Geist maintains the Manchurian and Alashan wapiti but places all other elk into C. canadensis canadensis.[13]

Tule Elk at a State of California reserve near Tupman, California.

Recent DNA studies suggest, that there are no more than three or four subspecies of Wapiti. All American forms seem to belong to one subspecies (Cervus canadensis canadensis). Even the Siberian elk (Cervus canadensis sibiricus) are more or less identical to the American forms and therefore may belong to this subspecies, too. However the Manchurian wapiti (Cervus canadensis xanthopygus) is clearly distinct from the Siberian forms, but not distinguishable from the Alashan Wapiti. The Chinese forms MacNeill's Deer, Kansu red deer, and Tibetan red deer belong also to the Wapitis and were not distinguishable from each other by mitochondrial DNA studies.[7]

The elk is a large animal of the artiodactyle ungulate order, possessing an even number of toes on each foot, similar to those of camels, goats and cattle. It is a ruminant species, with a four-chambered stomach, and feeds on grasses, plants, leaves and bark. During the summer, elk eat almost constantly, consuming between 4 and 7 kg (10 to 15 lb) daily.[14] In North America, males are called bulls, and females are called cows. In Asia, stag and hind, respectively, are sometimes used instead.

A herd of Roosevelt Elk in Redwood National and State Parks, California.

Elk are more than twice as heavy as mule deer and have a more reddish hue to their hair coloring, as well as large, buff colored rump patches and smaller tails. Moose are larger and darker than elk, bulls have distinctively different antlers and moose do not herd. Elk cows average 225 kg (500 lb), stand 1.3 m (4½ ft) at the shoulder, and are 2 m (6½ ft) from nose to tail. Bulls are some 25% larger than cows at maturity, weighing an average of 320 kg (700 lb), standing 1.5 m (5 ft) at the shoulder and averaging 2.5 m (8 ft) in length.[15] The largest of the subspecies is the Roosevelt elk, found west of the Cascade Range in the U.S. states of California, Oregon and Washington, and in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Roosevelt elk have been reintroduced into Alaska, where the largest males are estimated to weigh up to 600 kg (1,300 lb).[16]

Only the males have antlers, which start growing in the spring and are shed each winter. The largest antlers may be 1.2 m (4 ft) long and weigh 18 kg (40 lb).[17] Antlers are made of bone which can grow at a rate of 2.5 cm (1 inch) per day. While actively growing, the antlers are covered with and protected by a soft layer of highly vascularised skin known as velvet. The velvet is shed in the summer when the antlers have fully developed. Bull elk may have eight or more tines on each antler; however, the number of tines has little to do with the age or maturity of a particular animal. The Siberian and North American elk carry the largest antlers while the Altai wapiti have the smallest.[8] The formation and retention of antlers is testosterone-driven.[18] After the breeding season in late fall, the level of pheromones released during estrus declines in the environment and the testosterone levels of males drop as a consequence. This drop in testosterone leads to the shedding of antlers, usually in the early winter.

During the fall, elk grow a thicker coat of hair, which helps to insulate them during the winter. Males, females and calves of Siberian and North American elk all grow thin neck manes; female and young Manchurian and Alashan wapitis do not.[13] By early summer, the heavy winter coat has been shed, and elk are known to rub against trees and other objects to help remove hair from their bodies. All elk have small and clearly defined rump patches with short tails. They have different coloration based on the seasons and types of habitats, with gray or lighter coloration prevalent in the winter and a more reddish, darker coat in the summer. Subspecies living in arid climates tend to have lighter colored coats than do those living in forests.[19] Most have lighter yellow-brown to orange-brown coats in contrast to dark brown hair on the head, neck, and legs during the summer. Forest-adapted Manchurian and Alashan wapitis have darker reddish-brown coats with less contrast between the body coat and the rest of the body during the summer months.[8] Calves are born spotted, as is common with many deer species, and they lose their spots by the end of summer. Adult Manchurian wapiti may retain a few orange spots on the back of their summer coats until they are older. This characteristic has also been observed in the forest-adapted European red deer.[8]

Ecology

Distribution

Bull elk bugling during the rut

Modern subspecies are descended from elk that once inhabited Beringia, a steppe region between Asia and North America that connected the two continents during the Pleistocene. Beringia provided a migratory route for numerous mammal species, including brown bear, caribou, and moose, as well as humans.[20] As the Pleistocene came to an end, ocean levels began to rise; elk migrated southwards into Asia and North America. In North America they adapted to almost all ecosystems except for tundra, true deserts, and the gulf coast of the U.S. The elk of southern Siberia and central Asia were once more widespread but today are restricted to the mountain ranges west of Lake Baikal including the Sayan and Altai Mountains of Mongolia and the Tianshan region that borders Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and China's Xinjiang Province.[21] The habitat of Siberian elk in Asia is similar to that of the Rocky Mountain subspecies in North America.

Throughout their range, they live in forest and in forest edge habitat, similar to other deer species. In mountainous regions, they often dwell at higher elevations in summer, migrating down slope for winter. The highly adaptable elk also inhabit semi-deserts in North America, such as the Great Basin. Manchurian and Alashan wapiti are primarily forest dwellers and their smaller antler sizes is a likely adaptation to a forest environment.

Introductions

Bull elk on a captive range in Nebraska. These elk, originally from Rocky Mountain herds, exhibit modified behavior due to having been held in captivity, under less selective pressure

The Rocky Mountain elk subspecies has been reintroduced by hunter-conservation organizations in the Appalachian region of the eastern U.S., where the now extinct Eastern elk once lived[22] After elk were reintroduced in the states of Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee, they migrated into the neighboring states of Virginia and West Virginia, and have established permanent populations there.[23] Elk have also been reintroduced to a number of other states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. As of 1989, population figures for the Rocky Mountain subspecies were 782,500, and estimated numbers for all North American subspecies exceeded 1 million.[24] Prior to the European colonization of North America, there were an estimated 10 million elk on the continent.[15] Worldwide population of elk, counting those on farms and in the wild, is approximately 2 million.

Outside their native habitat, elk and other deer species were introduced in areas that previously had few if any large native ungulates. Brought to these countries for hunting and ranching for meat, hides and antler velvet, they have proven highly adaptable and have often had an adverse impact on local ecosystems. Elk and red deer were introduced to Argentina and Chile in the early 20th century.[25] There they are now considered an invasive species, encroaching on Argentinian ecosystems where they compete for food with the indigenous Chilean Huemul and other herbivores.[26] This negative impact on native animal species has led the IUCN to identify the elk as one of the world's 100 worst invaders.[27] Both elk and red deer have also been introduced to Ireland and Australia.[28][29]

The introduction of deer to New Zealand began in the middle of the 19th century, and current populations are primarily European red deer, with only 15 percent being elk.[30] There is significant hybridisation of elk with the more numerous red deer to the extent that pure elk may no longer exist in the wild in New Zealand. These deer have had an adverse impact on forest regeneration of some plant species, as they consume more palatable species which are replaced with those that are less favored by the elk. The long term impact will be an alteration of the types of plants and trees found, and in other animal and plant species dependent upon them.[31] As in Chile and Argentina, the IUCN has declared that red deer and elk populations in New Zealand are an invasive species.[27] There are over 250 individuals in captivity.

Biology

Behavior

American elk bugling spectrogram,
Play audio (OGG format, 25kB),
Play audio (wav format).

Adult elk usually stay in single-sex groups for most of the year. During the mating period known as the rut, mature bulls compete for the attentions of the cows and will try to defend females in their harem. Rival bulls challenge opponents by bellowing and by paralleling each other, walking back and forth. This allows potential combatants to assess the others antlers, body size and fighting prowess. If neither bull backs down, they engage in antler wrestling, and bulls sometimes sustain serious injuries. Bulls also dig holes in the ground, in which they urinate and roll their body. The urine soaks into their hair and gives them a distinct smell which attracts cows.[32]

Dominant bulls follow groups of cows during the rut, from August into early winter. A bull will defend his harem of 20 cows or more from competing bulls and predators.[33] Only mature bulls have large harems and breeding success peaks at about eight years of age. Bulls between two to four years and over 11 years of age rarely have harems, and spend most of the rut on the periphery of larger harems. Young and old bulls that do acquire a harem hold it later in the breeding season than do bulls in their prime. A bull with a harem rarely feeds and he may lose up to 20 percent of his body weight. Bulls that enter the rut in poor condition are less likely to make it through to the peak conception period or have the strength to survive the rigors of the oncoming winter.[32]

Bulls have a loud vocalization consisting of screams known as bugling, which can be heard for miles. Bugling is often associated with an adaptation to open environments such as parklands, meadows, and savannas, where sound can travel great distances. Females are attracted to the males that bugle more often and have the loudest call.[34] Bugling is most common early and late in the day and is one of the most distinctive sounds in nature, akin to the howl of the gray wolf.

Reproduction and lifecycle

Female nursing young.

Female elk have a short estrus cycle of only a day or two and matings usually involve a dozen or more attempts. By the fall of their second year, females can produce one and, very rarely, two offspring, though reproduction is most common when cows weigh at least 200 kg (450 lb).[35] The gestation period is 240 to 262 days and the offspring weigh between 15 and 16 kg (33 to 35 lb). When the females are near to giving birth, they tend to isolate themselves from the main herd, and will remain isolated until the calf is large enough to escape predators.[36] Calves are born spotted, as is common with many deer species, and they lose their spots by the end of summer. Manchurian wapiti may retain a few orange spots on the back of their summer coats until they are older. After two weeks, calves are able to join the herd and are fully weaned at two months of age.[37] Elk calves weigh as much as an adult white-tailed deer by the time they are six months old.[38] The offspring will remain with their mothers for almost a year, leaving about the time that the next season's offspring are produced.[34] The gestation period is the same for all subspecies.

Elk live 20 years or more in captivity but average 10 to 13 years in the wild. In some subspecies that suffer less predation, they may live an average of 15 years in the wild.[39]

Protection from predators

Male elk retain their antlers for more than half the year and are less likely to group with other males when they have antlers. Antlers provide a means of defense, as does a strong front-leg kick, which is performed by either sex if provoked. Once the antlers have been shed, bulls tend to form bachelor groups which allow them to work cooperatively at fending off predators. Herds tend to employ one or more scouts while the remaining members eat and rest.[34]

Single bull elk are vulnerable to predation by wolves.
Illustration of a cow elk being killed by an American black bear, from The Natural History of Quadrupeds by Frederick Shoberl, 1834

After the rut, females form large herds of up to 50 individuals. Newborn calves are kept close by a series of vocalizations; larger nurseries have an ongoing and constant chatter during the daytime hours. When approached by predators, the largest and most robust females may make a stand, using their front legs to kick at their attackers. Guttural grunts and posturing effectively deter all but the most determined predators. Wolf and coyote packs and the solitary cougar are the most likely predators, although brown and black bears also prey on elk.[34] Coyote packs mostly prey on elk calves, though can sometimes take a winter-weakened adult.[40] In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem which includes Yellowstone National Park, bears are the most significant predators of calves.[41] Major predators in Asia include the wolf, dhole, brown bear, Siberian tiger, Amur leopard, and snow leopard. Eurasian lynx and wild boar sometimes prey on Asian elk calves.[8] Historically, tigers in Baikal fed on Manchurian wapiti, and continue to do so in the Amur region.[42]

Migration

As is true for many species of deer, especially those in mountainous regions, elk migrate into areas of higher altitude in the spring, following the retreating snows, and the opposite direction in the fall. Hunting pressure also impacts migration and movements.[43] During the winter, they favor wooded areas and sheltered valleys for protection from the wind and availability of tree bark to eat. Roosevelt elk are generally non-migratory due to less seasonal variability of food sources.[34]

Diet

Elk are ruminants and therefore have four chambered stomachs. Unlike white-tailed deer and moose which are primarily browsers, elk have a similarity to cattle as they are primarily grazers, but like other deer, they also browse.[44][45] Elk have a tendency to do most of their feeding in the mornings and evenings, seeking sheltered areas in between feedings to digest. Their diets vary somewhat depending on the season with native grasses being a year round supplement, tree bark being consumed in winter and forbs and tree sprouts during the summer. Elk consume an average of 20 pounds (9.1 kg) of various foodstuffs daily.[46] Particularly fond of Aspen sprouts which rise in the Spring, elk have had some impact on Aspen groves which have been declining in some regions where elk exist.[47]

Elk pellet group

Range and wildlife managers conduct surveys of elk pellet groups to monitor populations and resource use. [48][49]

Health issues

At least 53 species of protist and animal parasites have been identified in elk (Table 62, p. 368).[50] With a few exceptions, these parasites seldom lead to significant mortality among wild or captive elk.

Parelaphostrongylus tenuis (brainworm or meningeal worm) is a parasitic nematode known to affect the spinal cord and brain tissue of elk and other species, leading to death.[51] The definitive host is the white-tailed deer, in which it normally has no ill effects. Snails and slugs, the intermediate hosts, can be inadvertently consumed by elk during grazing.[3]

Chronic Wasting Disease affects the brain tissue in elk, and has been detected throughout their range in North America. First documented in the late 1960s in mule deer, the disease has affected elk on game farms and in the wild in a number of regions. Elk that have contracted the disease begin to show weight loss, increased watering needs, disorientation and listlessness, and at an advanced stage the disease leads to death. The disease is similar to but not the same as Mad Cow Disease, and no risks to humans have been documented, nor has the disease been demonstrated to pose a threat to domesticated cattle.[52] In 2002, South Korea banned the importation of elk antler velvet due to concerns about chronic wasting disease.[53]

Brucellosis occasionally affect elk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the only place in the U.S. where the disease is still known to exist. In domesticated cattle, brucellosis causes infertility, abortions and reduced milk production. It is transmitted to humans as undulant fever, producing flu-like symptoms which may last for years. Though bison are more likely to transmit the disease to other animals, elk inadvertently transmitted brucellosis to horses in Wyoming and cattle in Idaho. Researchers are attempting to eradicate the disease through vaccinations and herd management measures, which are expected to be successful.[54]

A recent necropsy study of captive elk in Pennsylvania attributed the cause of death in 33 of 65 cases to either gastrointestinal parasites (21 cases, primarily Eimeria sp. and Ostertagia sp.) or bacterial infections (12 cases, mostly pneumonia).[55]

Some parasites, such as Fascioloides magna or Dictyocaulus viviparus are commonly found in elk, though they are usually of little clinical significance in this species (but see[56]). Since infection of some commercial livestock species by either of these parasites is often fatal,[57] their presence in elk herds is of some concern.

Cultural references

Elk have played an important role in the cultural history of a number of peoples. Pictograms and petroglyphs of elk were carved into cliffs thousands of years ago by the Anasazi of the southwestern U.S. More recent Native American tribes, including the Kootenai, Cree, Blackfeet, Ojibwa and Pawnee, produced blankets and robes from elk hides. The elk was of particular importance to the Lakota, and played a spiritual role in their society.[58] At birth, Lakota males were given an elk's tooth to promote a long life since that was seen as the last part of dead elk to rot away. The elk was seen as having strong sexual potency and young Lakota males who had dreamed of elk would have an image of the mythical representation of the elk on their "courting coats" as a sign of sexual prowess. The Lakota believed that the mythical or spiritual elk, not the physical one, was the teacher of men and the embodiment of strength, sexual prowess and courage.[59]

Neolithic petroglyphs from Asia depict antler-less female elk, which have been interpreted as symbolizing rebirth and sustenance. By the beginning of the Bronze Age, the elk is depicted less frequently in rock art, coinciding with a cultural transformation away from hunting.[60]

The Rocky Mountain Elk is the official state animal for Utah. An image of an elk and a moose appear on the state flag of Michigan.

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (B.P.O.E.) chose the elk as its namesake because a number of its attributes seemed typical of those to be cultivated by members of the fraternity. The founders of the Order felt that the elk was a distinctively American animal. A representation of the majestic head of the male, with its spreading antlers, was adopted as the first badge of the Order; and is still the most conspicuous element of its copyrighted fraternal emblem.[61] A prized possession of many members of the B.P.O.E. are jewel encrusted, gold mounted elk teeth [62] - which are actually ivory.[63]

Commercial uses

Bull elk in spring are shedding their winter coats, and their antlers are covered in velvet

Although breakdown figures for each game species are not available in the 2006 National Survey from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hunting of wild elk is most likely the primary economic impact.[64]

Elk are held in captivity, or farmed, for hunting, meat production and velvet collection. What is known as a canned hunt is where a hunter pays a fee for an essentially guaranteed chance to shoot an elk in an escape-proof range. They are not generally harvested for meat production on a large scale; however, some restaurants offer the meat as a specialty item and it is also available in some grocery stores. The meat has a taste somewhere between beef and venison and is higher in protein and lower in fat than either beef or chicken.[65] Elk meat is also a good source of iron, phosphorus and zinc, but is high in cholesterol.[66]

A male elk can produce 10 to 11 kg (22 to 25 lb) of antler velvet annually and on ranches in the United States, Canada and New Zealand, this velvet is collected and sold to markets in east Asia, where it is used in medicine. Velvet is also considered by some cultures to be an aphrodisiac.[53] However, consuming velvet from elk in North America may be risky since velvet from animals infected with chronic wasting disease may contain prions that could result in a human getting variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.[67]

Antlers are also used in artwork, furniture and other novelty items. All Asian subspecies, along with other deer, have been raised for their antlers in central and eastern Asia by Han Chinese, Turkic peoples, Tungusic peoples, Mongolians, and Koreans. Elk farms are relatively common in North America and New Zealand.[30]

Elk hides have been used for thousands of years for tepee covering, blankets, clothing and footwear. Modern uses are more decorative, but elk skin shoes, gloves and belts are not uncommon.[15]

Since 1967, the Boy Scouts of America have assisted employees at the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming by collecting the antlers which are shed each winter. The antlers are then auctioned with most of the proceeds returned to the refuge. In 2006, 3,200 kg (7,060 lb) of antlers were auctioned, bringing in almost $76,000. Another 980 kg (2,160 lb) were sold directly for local use, restoring some decorative arches in the Jackson Town Square.[68]

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See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Erxleben, J.C.P. (1777) Anfangsgründe der Naturlehre and Systema regni animalis.
  2. ^ Robb, Bob; Gerald Bethge (2001). The Ultimate Guide to Elk Hunting. The Lyons Press. ISBN 1585741809. OCLC 44818360. 
  3. ^ a b "Pennsylvania Elk Classification". Pennsylvania Elk Herd. Archived from the original on 2007-10-06. http://web.archive.org/web/20071006112112/http://www.pennsylvaniaelkherd.com/elk00003.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  4. ^ "Wildlife - Wapiti (Elk)". U.S. Forest Service. June 21, 2006. http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/caribou-targhee/wildlife/elk.shtml. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  5. ^ "Ecosystem and Climate History of Alaska". U.S. Geological Survey. 2006-02-14. http://esp.cr.usgs.gov/research/alaska/alaskaC.html. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  6. ^ "The Case of the Irish Elk". University of California, Berkeley. http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/mammal/artio/irishelk.html. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  7. ^ a b c Ludt, Christian J.; Wolf Schroeder, Oswald Rottmann, and Ralph Kuehn. "Mitochondrial DNA phylogeography of red deer (Cervus elaphus)" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 31 (2004) 1064–1083. Elsevier. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WNH-4B4XS6K-3&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=160f3449ffc65f95a96e1964c19c010a. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Geist, Valerius (1998). Deer of the World: Their Evolution, Behavior, and Ecology. Mechanicsburg, Pa: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-0496-0. OCLC 37713037. 
  9. ^ Groves, Colin (November 11, 2005). "The genus Cervus in eastern Eurasia". European Journal of Wildlife Research (Springer Berlin / Heidelberg) 52 (1): 14–22. doi:10.1007/s10344-005-0011-5. http://www.springerlink.com/content/y0019m027177wg53/. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  10. ^ Keck, Stu. "Elk (Cervus canadensis)". Bowhunting.net. http://www.bowhunting.net/NAspecies/elk1.html#subspecies. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  11. ^ Gerhart, Dorothy C.. "Skull and Antlers of Extinct Eastern Elk Unearthed at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge in Northwestern N.Y.". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. http://www.fws.gov/historicPreservation/archives/elkBones_012405.html. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  12. ^ Allen, Craig. "Elk Reintroductions". U.S. Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 2006-09-27. http://web.archive.org/web/20060927142112/http://biology.usgs.gov/s+t/SNT/noframe/sw159.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  13. ^ a b c Geist, Valerius (June 1993). Elk Country. Minneapolis: Northword Press. ISBN 978-1559712088. 
  14. ^ "Elk Habitat". Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. http://www.rmef.org/AllAboutElk/ElkHabitat/. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  15. ^ a b c "Fast Facts". Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. http://www.rmef.org/AllAboutElk/FastFacts/. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  16. ^ Eide, Sterling. "Roosevelt Elk". Alaska Department of Fish and Game. http://www.adfg.state.ak.us/pubs/notebook/biggame/elk.php. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  17. ^ "What Are Elk?". Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. http://www.rmef.org/AllAboutElk/WhatAreElk/. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  18. ^ "Friends of the Prairie Learning Center". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. http://www.tallgrass.org/elks.html. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  19. ^ Pisarowicz, Jim. "American Elk - Cervus elephus". National Park Service. http://www.nps.gov/archive/wica/Elk.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  20. ^ Flannery, Tim (2001-05-10). The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples. Atlantic Monthly Press. pp. 212–217. ISBN 0871137895. 
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  24. ^ Peek, James. "North American Elk". U.S. Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 2006-09-27. http://web.archive.org/web/20060927171616/http://biology.usgs.gov/s+t/noframe/c273.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
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  49. ^ William J. Ripple, Eric J. Larsen, Roy A. Renkin and Douglas W. Smith (2001). "Trophic cascades among wolves, elk and aspen on Yellowstone National Park’s northern range". Biological Conservation 102 (3 (December 2001)): 227–234. doi:10.1016/S0006-3207(01)00107-0. 
  50. ^ Thorne, E.T., E.S. Williams, W.M. Samuel, and T.P. Kistner (2002) Diseases and parasites. In: D.E. Toweill and J.W. Thomas (eds) North American Elk: Ecology and Management. Smithsonian Institution Press: Washington, DC, pp. 351-387
  51. ^ McIntosh, T., R. Rosatte, D. Campbell, K. Welch, D. Fournier, M. Spinato, and O. Ogunremi (2007) Evidence of Parelaphostrongylus tenuis infections in free-ranging elk (Cervus elaphus) in southern Ontario. Canadian Veterinary Journal 48(11):1146-1151. [1]
  52. ^ "Chronic Wasting Disease". Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Archived from the original on 2006-08-19. http://web.archive.org/web/20060819154225/http://www.rmef.org/pages/chronic.html. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  53. ^ a b Hansen, Ray (November 2006). "Elk Profile". Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. http://web.archive.org/web/20070928000404/http://www.agmrc.org/agmrc/commodity/livestock/elk/elkprofile.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  54. ^ "Brucellosis and Yellowstone Bison". Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, USDA. Archived from the original on 2008-02-10. http://web.archive.org/web/20080210105801/http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/nahps/brucellosis/cattle.htm#About%20Elk. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
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  57. ^ Fascioloides magna#.283.29 Aberrant hosts
  58. ^ "Elk In History". Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. http://www.rmef.org/AllAboutElk/ElkInHistory/. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  59. ^ Halder, Bornali (2002). "Lakota Sioux Animal Symbolism I". Lakota Archives. http://www.lakotaarchives.com/lakanimal.html. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
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  61. ^ url = http://www.chea-elks.org/name.html
  62. ^ url = http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/fraternalism/elks.htm
  63. ^ "DanShelley Jewelers -Elk Ivory: Story". Danshelley.com. http://www.danshelley.com/elkivory-story.html. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  64. ^ "2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation". United States Fish and Wildlife Service. 2006. http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/NationalSurvey/nat_survey2006_final.pdf. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  65. ^ "Elk Meat Nutritional Information". Wapiti.net. http://www.wapiti.net/nutrition.cfm. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  66. ^ "Nutritional Summary for Game meat, elk, raw". Condé Nast Publications. 2007. http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts-C00001-01c21Cl.html. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  67. ^ Angers, Rachel C.; Tanya S. Seward, Dana Napier, Michael Green, Edward Hoover, Terry Spraker, Katherine O’Rourke, Aru Balachandran, and Glenn C. Telling (2009 May). "Chronic Wasting Disease Prions in Elk Antler Velvet". Emerging Infectious Diseases (CDC) Epub ahead of print: 696. doi:10.3201/eid1505.081458. http://www.cdc.gov/eid/content/15/5/pdfs/08-1458.pdf. Retrieved 21 April 2009. 
  68. ^ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (May 22, 2006). "39th annual elk antler auction held in Jackson". Press release. Archived from the original on 2008-03-09. http://web.archive.org/web/20080309051254/http://www.fws.gov/nationalelkrefuge/Documents/05_22_06_BoyscoutAntlerAuction.pdf. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Contents

Elk [1] is city in Masuria, Voivodship Warminsko-Mazurskie, in Poland.

Get in

Ełk is accessible by train from Warsaw. The route takes about four hours. There are two possible routes. One goes from Warsaw to the east through Białystok; this is the fastest route but trains tend to be less frequent. The other route goes from Warsaw to the west of Ełk via Olsztyn.

There are regular trains from Gdańsk to Ełk that take about eight hours.

Trains from Vilnius (Wilno) are also possible.

Trains from Belarus are indirect, usually through Warsaw.

Bus service also connects Ełk to other major cities.

There is no commercial airport service in the area. The most accessible airport is Warsaw; with Gdansk and Vilnius the next most accessible airports.

There are small airports in the area, particularly military landing areas, such as Szczytno.

Do

Ełk is increasingly becoming a popular summer getaway location, such as for people from Warsaw. This a large lake downtown with many other lakes in the area.

Eat

Some of the best places to go are on the lakefront in the center of Ełk, such as Smętek and Kuźnia Smaku.

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010
(Redirected to The Elk article)

From Wikisource

The Elk
by Saki
From Beasts and Super-Beasts

Teresa, Mrs. Thropplestance, was the richest and most intractable old woman in the county of Woldshire.  In her dealings with the world in general her manner suggested a blend between a Mistress of the Robes and a Master of Foxhounds, with the vocabulary of both.  In her domestic circle she comported herself in the arbitrary style that one attributes, probably without the least justification, to an American political Boss in the bosom of his caucus.  The late Theodore Thropplestance had left her, some thirty-five years ago, in absolute possession of a considerable fortune, a large landed property, and a gallery full of valuable pictures.  In those intervening years she had outlived her son and quarrelled with her elder grandson, who had married without her consent or approval.  Bertie Thropplestance, her younger grandson, was the heir-designate to her property, and as such he was a centre of interest and concern to some half-hundred ambitious mothers with daughters of marriageable age.  Bertie was an amiable, easy-going young man, who was quite ready to marry anyone who was favourably recommended to his notice, but he was not going to waste his time in falling in love with anyone who would come under his grandmother’s veto.  The favourable recommendation would have to come from Mrs. Thropplestance.

Teresa’s house-parties were always rounded off with a plentiful garnishing of presentable young women and alert, attendant mothers, but the old lady was emphatically discouraging whenever any one of her girl guests became at all likely to outbid the others as a possible granddaughter-in-law.  It was the inheritance of her fortune and estate that was in question, and she was evidently disposed to exercise and enjoy her powers of selection and rejection to the utmost.  Bertie’s preferences did not greatly matter; he was of the sort who can be stolidly happy with any kind of wife; he had cheerfully put up with his grandmother all his life, so was not likely to fret and fume over anything that might befall him in the way of a helpmate.

The party that gathered under Teresa’s roof in Christmas week of the year nineteen-hundred-and-something was of smaller proportions than usual, and Mrs. Yonelet, who formed one of the party, was inclined to deduce hopeful augury from this circumstance.  Dora Yonelet and Bertie were so obviously made for one another, she confided to the vicar’s wife, and if the old lady were accustomed to seeing them about a lot together she might adopt the view that they would make a suitable married couple.

“People soon get used to an idea if it is dangled constantly before their eyes,” said Mrs. Yonelet hopefully, “and the more often Teresa sees those young people together, happy in each other’s company, the more she will get to take a kindly interest in Dora as a possible and desirable wife for Bertie.”

“My dear,” said the vicar’s wife resignedly, “my own Sybil was thrown together with Bertie under the most romantic circumstances – I’ll tell you about it some day – but it made no impression whatever on Teresa; she put her foot down in the most uncompromising fashion, and Sybil married an Indian civilian.”

“Quite right of her,” said Mrs. Yonelet with vague approval; “it’s what any girl of spirit would have done.  Still, that was a year or two ago, I believe; Bertie is older now, and so is Teresa.  Naturally she must be anxious to see him settled.”

The vicar’s wife reflected that Teresa seemed to be the one person who showed no immediate anxiety to supply Bertie with a wife, but she kept the thought to herself.

Mrs. Yonelet was a woman of resourceful energy and generalship; she involved the other members of the house-party, the deadweight, so to speak, in all manner of exercises and occupations that segregated them from Bertie and Dora, who were left to their own devisings – that is to say, to Dora’s devisings and Bertie’s accommodating acquiescence.  Dora helped in the Christmas decorations of the parish church, and Bertie helped her to help.  Together they fed the swans, till the birds went on a dyspepsia-strike, together they played billiards, together they photographed the village almshouses, and, at a respectful distance, the tame elk that browsed in solitary aloofness in the park.  It was “tame” in the sense that it had long ago discarded the least vestige of fear of the human race; nothing in its record encouraged its human neighbours to feel a reciprocal confidence.

Whatever sport or exercise or occupation Bertie and Dora indulged in together was unfailingly chronicled and advertised by Mrs. Yonelet for the due enlightenment of Bertie’s grandmother.

“Those two inseparables have just come in from a bicycle ride,” she would announce; “quite a picture they make, so fresh and glowing after their spin.”

“A picture needing words,” would be Teresa’s private comment, and as far as Bertie was concerned she was determined that the words should remain unspoken.

On the afternoon after Christmas Day Mrs. Yonelet dashed into the drawing-room, where her hostess was sitting amid a circle of guests and teacups and muffin-dishes.  Fate had placed what seemed like a trump-card in the hands of the patiently-manoeuvring mother.  With eyes blazing with excitement and a voice heavily escorted with exclamation marks she made a dramatic announcement.

“Bertie has saved Dora from the elk!”

In swift, excited sentences, broken with maternal emotion, she gave supplementary information as to how the treacherous animal had ambushed Dora as she was hunting for a strayed golf ball, and how Bertie had dashed to her rescue with a stable fork and driven the beast off in the nick of time.

“It was touch and go!  She threw her niblick at it, but that didn’t stop it.  In another moment she would have been crushed beneath its hoofs,” panted Mrs. Yonelet.

“The animal is not safe,” said Teresa, handing her agitated guest a cup of tea.  “I forget if you take sugar.  I suppose the solitary life it leads has soured its temper.  There are muffins in the grate.  It’s not my fault; I’ve tried to get it a mate for ever so long.  You don’t know of anyone with a lady elk for sale or exchange, do you?” she asked the company generally.

But Mrs. Yonelet was in no humour to listen to talk of elk marriages.  The mating of two human beings was the subject uppermost in her mind, and the opportunity for advancing her pet project was too valuable to be neglected.

“Teresa,” she exclaimed impressively, “after those two young people have been thrown together so dramatically, nothing can be quite the same again between them.  Bertie has done more than save Dora’s life; he has earned her affection.  One cannot help feeling that Fate has consecrated them for one another.”

“Exactly what the vicar’s wife said when Bertie saved Sybil from the elk a year or two ago,” observed Teresa placidly; “I pointed out to her that he had rescued Mirabel Hicks from the same predicement a few months previously, and that priority really belonged to the gardener’s boy, who had been rescued in the January of that year.  There is a good deal of sameness in country life, you know.”

“It seems to be a very dangerous animal,” said one of the guests.

“That’s what the mother of the gardener’s boy said,” remarked Teresa; “she wanted me to have it destroyed, but I pointed out to her that she had eleven children and I had only one elk.  I also gave her a black silk skirt; she said that though there hadn’t been a funeral in her family she felt as if there had been.  Anyhow, we parted friends.  I can’t offer you a silk skirt, Emily, but you may have another cup of tea.  As I have already remarked, there are muffins in the grate.”

Teresa dosed the discussion, having deftly conveyed the impression that she considered the mother of the gardener’s boy had shown a far more reasonable spirit than the parents of other elk-assaulted victims.

“Teresa is devoid of feeling,” said Mrs. Yonelet afterwards to the vicar’s wife; “to sit there, talking of muffins, with an appalling tragedy only narrowly averted – ”

“Of course you know whom she really intends Bertie to marry?” asked the vicar’s wife; “I’ve noticed it for some time.  The Bickelbys’ German governess.”

“A German governess!  What an idea!” gasped Mrs. Yonelet.

“She’s of quite good family, I believe,” said the vicar’s wife, “and not at all the mouse-in-the-back-ground sort of person that governesses are usually supposed to be.  In fact, next to Teresa, she’s about the most assertive and combative personality in the neighbourhood.  She’s pointed out to my husband all sorts of errors in his sermons, and she gave Sir Laurence a public lecture on how he ought to handle the hounds.  You know how sensitive Sir Laurence is about any criticism of his Mastership, and to have a governess laying down the law to him nearly drove him into a fit.  She’s behaved like that to every one, except, of course, Teresa, and every one has been defensively rude to her in return.  The Bickelbys are simply too afraid of her to get rid of her.  Now isn’t that exactly the sort of woman whom Teresa would take a delight in installing as her successor?  Imagine the discomfort and awkwardness in the county if we suddenly found that she was to be the future hostess at the Hall.  Teresa’s only regret will be that she won’t be alive to see it.”

“But,” objected Mrs. Yonelet, “surely Bertie hasn’t shown the least sign of being attracted in that quarter?”

“Oh, she’s quite nice-looking in a way, and dresses well, and plays a good game of tennis.  She often comes across the park with messages from the Bickelby mansion, and one of these days Bertie will rescue her from the elk, which has become almost a habit with him, and Teresa will say that Fate has consecrated them to one another.  Bertie might not be disposed to pay much attention to the consecrations of Fate, but he would not dream of opposing his grandmother.”

The vicar’s wife spoke with the quiet authority of one who has intuitive knowledge, and in her heart of hearts Mrs. Yonelet believed her.

Six months later the elk had to be destroyed.  In a fit of exceptional moroseness it had killed the Bickelbys’ German governess.  It was an irony of its fate that it should achieve popularity in the last moments of its career; at any rate, it established, the record of being the only living thing that had permanently thwarted Teresa Thropplestance’s plans.

Dora Yonelet broke off her engagement with an Indian civilian, and married Bertie three months after his grandmother’s death – Teresa did not long survive the German governess fiasco.  At Christmas time every year young Mrs. Thropplestance hangs an extra large festoon of evergreens on the elk horns that decorate the hall.

“It was a fearsome beast,” she observes to Bertie, “but I always feel that it was instrumental in bringing us together.”

Which, of course, was true.


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ELK, or MoosE, the largest of all the deer tribe, distinguished from other members of the Cervidae by the form of the antlers of the males. These arise as cylindrical beams projecting on each side at right angles to the middle line of the skull, which after a short distance divide in a fork-like manner. The lower prong of this fork may be either simple, or divided into two or three tines, with some flattening. In the East Siberian elk (Alces machlis bedfordiae) the posterior division of the main fork divides into three tines, with no distinct flattening. In the common elk (A. machlis or A. alces), on the other hand, this branch usually expands into a broad palmation, with one large tine at the base, and a number of smaller snags on the free border; there is, however, a phase of the Scandinavian elk in which the antlers are simpler, and recall those of the East Siberian race. The palmation appears to be more marked in the North American race (A. m. americanus) than in the typical Scandinavian elk. The largest of all is the Alaskan race (A. m. gigas), which is said to stand 8 ft. in height, with a span of 6 ft. across the antlers. The great length of the legs gives a decidedly ungainly appearance to the elk, The muzzle is long and fleshy, with only a very small triangular naked patch below the nostrils; and the males have a peculiar sac, known as the bell, hanging from the neck. From the shortness of their necks, elks are unable to graze, and their chief food consists of young shoots and leaves of willow and birch. In North America during the winter one male and several females form a "moose-yard" in the forest, which they keep open by trampling the snow. Although generally timid, the males become very bold during the breeding season, when the females utter a loud call; and at such times they fight both with their antlers and their hoofs. The usual pace is a shambling trot, but when pressed elks break into a gallop. The female gives birth to one or two young at a time, which are not spotted. In America the elk is known as the moose, and the former name is transferred to the wapiti deer. (R. L.*)


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to elk article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Wikipedia

Contents

English

elk (Cervus canadensis)

Etymology

Middle English elk < Old English eolc < Old Norse elgr or Middle High German elch, both < Proto-Germanic *elkh- < Proto-Indo-European *ol-/ *el- (red, brow).

Pronunciation

Noun

Singular
elk

Plural
elk or archaic, elks

elk (plural elk or archaic, elks)

  1. (North American) The common wapiti (Cervus canadensis); the second largest member of the deer family, smaller only than a moose. Elk never have flat antlers (like moose do.)
  2. (British) The largest member of the deer family (Alces alces); a moose.

Synonyms

Translations

Anagrams


Dutch

Alternative spellings

  • elke

Pronoun

elk

  1. each
  2. everyone
    Melk is goed voor elk.

Simple English

Redirecting to Moose








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