Corsican red deer
|Cervus elaphus corsicanus|
|A male Sardinian deer|
|Subspecies:||C. e. corsicanus|
| Cervus elaphus corsicanus|
Corsican red deer (Cervus elaphus corsicanus Erxleben, 1777), also known simply as Corsican or Sardinian deer, is a subspecies of the red deer (Cervus elaphus), endemic to the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia (Italy) and Corsica (France).
The Corsican deer is smaller than most of the 16 subspecies of red deer; has shorter legs (possibly to better scramble up mountain sides) and a longer tail. The antlers are also simplified and shorter, typically less than 80 cm (31 in) in length. Coat is brownish. Life expectancy is 13-14 years. Males reach a height of 86 to 110 cm (34 to 43 in) and a weight of 100 to 110 kg (220 to 240 lb); while females measure 80 to 90 cm (31 to 35 in) and weight 80 kg (180 lb).
The subspecies reach sexual maturity at 2 years of age. Mating lasts from August to November and can involve mortal battles. The dominant male finally secures most of the mature females, typically a dozen per male. After gestation, in May-July, females hide alone in the maquis (the dense vegetation) to deliver, typically a single birth per female. Males leave the matriarchal group following the reproductive period.
Distribution and habitat
The Corsican red deer is an introduced species, brought to the islands some 8000 years ago. Today it lives in the wild in sanctuaries on both islands, for example it is bred in the Monte Arcosu Forest in Sardinia and in the Parc Naturel Régional de Corse, which covers almost 40% of the island, where it was reintroduced from Sardinia after its extinction in the 1970's.
The subspecies gets its name from the island of Corsica, from where it was however extirpated in the early 1970s. At that time, the less than 250 animals that still existed on Sardinia were protected and plans were elaborated for a reintroduction on Corsica. Captive breeding on the latter island began in 1985 and the population increased from 13 founders to 186 captive animals. Reintroduction could finally begin in 1998, and as of 2007, the Corsican population was about 250 individuals with a total of about 1,000 for the subspecies which has therefore been downgraded to near-threatened on the IUCN Red List.
- Hughes, Holly; West, Larry (2008). "Regional Nature Park of Corsica: Welcome Home, Deer". Frommer's 500 Places to See Before They Disappear. Frommer's. ISBN 0-470-18986-X.
- Kidjo, Nicolas; Feracci, Gérard; Bideau, Eric; Gonzalez, Georges; Mattéi, César; Marchand, Bernard; Aulagnier, Stéphane (2007). "Extirpation and reintroduction of the Corsican red deer Cervus elaphus corsicanus in Corsica". Oryx. Cambridge University Press (41): 488–494. doi:10.1017/S0030605307012069.
- Cervus elaphus corsicanus Exleben 1777: Le Cerf de Corse (PDF) (in French). French Ministry of Ecology (?). Retrieved March 2010. Check date values in:
|access-date=(help) (Natura 2000)
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