The elk (Cervus canadensis) or wapiti is one of the largest species within the deer family, Cervidae, and one of the largest terrestrial mammals in North America and Northeast Asia. It is not to be confused with the still larger moose (Alces alces) of North America, alternatively known as "elk" in British English and related names in other European languages (German Elch, Swedish älg, French élan), in reference to populations in Eurasia. Elk range in forest and forest-edge habitat, feeding on grasses, plants, leaves, and bark. Male elk have large antlers which are shed each year. Males also engage in ritualized mating behaviors during the rut, including posturing, antler wrestling (sparring), and bugling, a loud series of vocalizations that establishes dominance over other males and attracts females.
|A bull (male) in Nebraska|
|A cow (female) in Colorado|
|Former (light green) and current (dark green) native ranges of Cervus canadensis|
Various Cervus elaphus subspecies
Although it is currently native to North America and eastern Asia, it had a much wider distribution in the past. Populations were present across Eurasia into Western Europe during the Late Pleistocene, and survived into the early Holocene in southern Sweden and the Alps. The elk has adapted well in countries where it has been introduced, including Argentina and New Zealand. Its adaptability may in fact threaten endemic species and the ecosystems into which it has been introduced.
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 by vaccination, have had mixed success. Some cultures revere the elk as having spiritual significance. In parts of Asia, antlers and their velvet are used in traditional medicines. Elk are hunted as a game species. Their meat is leaner and higher in protein than beef or chicken. Elk were long believed to belong to a subspecies of the European red deer (Cervus elaphus), but evidence from many mitochondrial DNA genetic studies beginning in 1998 shows that the two are distinct species. Key morphological differences that distinguish C. canadensis from C. elaphus are the former's wider rump patch and paler-hued antlers.
Naming and etymologyEdit
Early European explorers in North America, who were familiar with the smaller red deer of Europe, thought that the larger North American animal resembled a moose, and consequently gave it the name elk, which is the common European name for moose. The word elk is related to the Latin alces, Old Norse elgr, Scandinavian elg/älg and German Elch, all of which refer to the animal known in North America as the moose. The name wapiti is from the Shawnee and Cree word waapiti, meaning "white rump". The Asian subspecies are sometimes referred to as the maral, but this name applies primarily to the Caspian red deer (Cervus elaphus maral), a subspecies of the red deer. There is a subspecies of wapiti in Mongolia called the Altai wapiti (Cervus canadensis sibiricus), also known as the Altai maral.
Members of the genus Cervus (and hence early relatives or possible ancestors of the elk) first appear in the fossil record 25 million years ago, during the Oligocene in Eurasia, but do not appear in the North American fossil record until the early Miocene. 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.
Until recently, red deer and elk were considered to be one species, Cervus elaphus. However, mitochondrial DNA studies, conducted on hundreds of samples in 2004 from red deer and elk subspecies as well as other species of the Cervus deer family, strongly indicate that elk, or wapiti, should be a distinct species, namely Cervus canadensis. 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. Elk and red deer produce fertile offspring in captivity, and 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 elk blood from the area. Key morphological differences that distinguish C. canadensis from C. elaphus are the former's wider rump patch and paler-hued antlers.
There are numerous subspecies of elk described, with 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 in 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". Of the six subspecies of elk known to have inhabited North America in historical times, four remain, including the Roosevelt's (C. canadensis roosevelti), tule (C. canadensis nannodes), Manitoban (C. canadensis manitobensis) and Rocky Mountain elk (C. canadensis nelsoni). The eastern elk (C. canadensis canadensis) and Merriam's elk (C. canadensis merriami) subspecies have been extinct for at least a century.
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.
Recent DNA studies suggest that there are no more than three or four subspecies of elk. All American forms, aside from possibly the tule and Roosevelt's elk, 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 the Sichuan deer, Kansu red deer, and Tibetan red deer belong also to the wapitis and were not distinguishable from each other by mitochondrial DNA studies. These Chinese subspecies are sometimes treated as a distinct species, namely the Central Asian red deer (Cervus wallichi), which also includes the Kashmir stag.
- North American group
- Eastern group
- Southern group (Central Asian red deer)
Elk have thick bodies with slender legs and short tails. They are typically 0.75–1.5 m (2 ft 6 in–4 ft 11 in) high at and shoulder with a nose-to-tail length of 1.6–2.7 m (5 ft 3 in–8 ft 10 in). Males are larger and weigh 178–497 kg (392–1,096 lb) while females weigh 171–292 kg (377–644 lb). The largest of the subspecies is the Roosevelt elk (C. c. roosevelti), 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). More typically, male Roosevelt elk weigh around 318 to 499 kg (701 to 1,100 lb), while females weigh 261 to 283 kg (575 to 624 lb). Male tule elk weigh 204–318 kg (450–701 lb) while females weight 170–191 kg (375–421 lb).
Antlers are made of bone which can grow at a rate of 2.5 centimeters (0.98 in) 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 typically have around six tines on each antler. The Siberian and North American elk carry the largest antlers while the Altai wapiti have the smallest. A Roosevelt bull can have antlers that weight 18 kg (40 lb). The formation and retention of antlers is testosterone-driven. In late winter and early, the testosterone levels drop which causes the antlers to shed.
During the fall, elk grow a thicker coat of hair, which helps to insulate them during the winter. Both males and female North American elk all grow thin neck manes; females of other subspecies may not.:37 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. 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 red or reddish-brown coats with less contrast between the body coat and the rest of the body during the summer months. 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.
Behavior and ecologyEdit
Elk are among the most gregarious deer species.:52 During the summer, group size can reach 400 individuals. For most of the year, adult males and female are segregated into different herds. Female herds are larger while bull form small groups and may even travel alone. Young bulls may associate with older bulls or with female groups. Male and female herds come together during the mating season, which may begin in late August.:75, 82 During this time, bulls enter the rut and compete for females to include in their harems.:92 Males try to intimate rivals by vocalizing and displaying with their antlers.:109 If neither bull backs down, they engage in antler wrestling, and bulls sometimes sustain serious injuries. Bulls also dig holes in the ground called wallows, in which they urinate and roll their bodies. A male elk's urethra points upward so that urine is sprayed almost at a right angle to the penis. The urine soaks into their hair and gives them a distinct smell which attracts cows.
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. A bull interacts with cows in his harem in two ways; herding and courtship. When a female wanders too far away from the range of the harem, the male will rush ahead of her, block her path and aggressively rushes her back to the harem. Herding behavior is accompanied a stretched out and lowered neck and the antlers layed back. A bull may get violent and hit the cow with his antlers. During courtship, the bull is more peaceful and approaches her with his head and antlers raised. The male signals his intention to test the female for sexual receptivity by flicking his tongue. If not ready, a cow will lower her head and weave from side to side while opening and closing her mouth. The bull will stop in response in order to not scare her.:100–101 Otherwise, the bull will copiously lick the female and then mount her.:115
Younger, less dominant bulls, known as "spike bulls" due to their antlers not yet being forked, will harass unguarded cows. These bulls are impatient and will not reform any courtship rituals and will continue to pursue a female even when she signals him to stop. As such, they are less reproductively successful and a cow may stay close to the big bull to avoid harassment. Dominant bulls are intolerant of spike bulls and will chase them away from their harems.:100–105
Bulls have a loud, high-pitched, whistle-like vocalization known as bugling, which advertise the male's fitness over great distances. Unusual for a vocalization produced by a large animal, buglings can reach a frequency of 4000 Hz. This is achieved by blowing air from the glottis through the nasal cavities. Elk can produce deeper pitched (150 Hz) sounds using the larynx.
Reproduction and lifecycleEdit
Female elk have a short estrus cycle of only a day or two, and matings usually involve a dozen or more attempts. By the autumn of their second year, females can produce one and, very rarely, two offspring, although reproduction is most common when cows weigh at least 200 kilograms (440 lb). The gestation period is 240 to 262 days and the offspring weigh between 15 and 16 kilograms (33 and 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.
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. Elk calves are as large as an adult white-tailed deer by the time they are six months old. Elk will leave their natal (birth) ranges before they are three years old. Males disperse more often then females as adult cows are more tolerant of female offspring from previous years. 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.
Predators and defensive tacticsEdit
Predators of elk include wolves, coyotes, bears, cougars and Siberian tigers. Coyote packs mostly prey on elk calves, though they can sometimes take a winter- or disease-weakened adult. In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem which includes Yellowstone National Park, bears are the most significant predators of calves.
Living in groups lessens the risk of an individual falling to predation. Large bull elk are less vulnerable and thus can afford to wander alone, while cows stay in larger groups for protection of their calves.:75 Elk may also avoid predation by switching from grazing to browsing, the former of which puts itself in a compromising situation of being in such an open area with its head down, where it cannot watch what is going on in the surrounding area. Bulls are more vulnerable to predation by wolves in late winter, after they have been weakened by months of chasing females and fighting. Males that have recently lost their antlers are more likely to be preyed on. The killing of cows in their prime is more likely to effect population growth than the killing of bulls.
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. During the winter, they favor wooded areas for the greater availability of food to eat. Elk do not appear to benefit from thermal cover. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem elk herd numbers over 200,000 individuals and during the spring and fall, they take part in the longest elk migration in the continental U.S. Elk in the southern regions of Yellowstone National Park and in the surrounding National Forests migrate south towards the town of Jackson, Wyoming, where they winter for up to six months on the National Elk Refuge. Conservationists there ensure the herd is well fed during the harsh winters.
Elk are ruminants and therefore have four-chambered stomachs. Unlike white-tailed deer and moose, which are primarily browsers, elk are similar to cattle in that they are primarily grazers. But like other deer, they also browse. 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 9.1 kilograms (20 lb) of various vegetation daily. 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. Range and wildlife managers conduct surveys of elk pellet groups to monitor populations and resource use.
Parasites and diseaseEdit
At least 53 species of protist and animal parasites have been identified in elk. Most of 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. 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. The liver fluke Fascioloides magna and the nematode Dictyocaulus viviparus are also commonly found parasites that can be fatal to elk. Since infection by either of these parasites can be lethal to some commercial livestock species, their presence in elk herds is of some concern.
Chronic wasting disease, transmitted by a misfolded protein known as a prion, 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, changes in behavior, increased watering needs, excessive salivation and urinating and difficulty swallowing, and at an advanced stage, the disease leads to death. No risks to humans have been documented, nor has the disease been demonstrated to pose a threat to domesticated cattle. In 2002, South Korea banned the importation of elk antler velvet due to concerns about chronic wasting disease.
The Gram-negative bacterial disease brucellosis occasionally affects 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 influenza-like symptoms that 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. Nevertheless, research has been ongoing since 2002, and a successful vaccine has yet to be developed as of 2016[update].
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).
Elk hoof disease was first noticed in the state of Washington in the late 1990s in the Cowlitz River basin, with sporadic reports of deformed hooves. Since then, the disease has spread rapidly with increased sightings throughout southwest Washington and into Oregon. The disease is characterised by deformed, broken, or missing hooves and leads to severe lameness in elk. The primary cause is not known, but it is associated with treponeme bacteria, which are known to cause digital dermatitis in commercial livestock. The mode of transmission is also not known, but it appears to be highly contagious among elk. Studies are being undertaken by government departments to determine how to halt or eliminate the disease.
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, camel, horse, caribou, and moose, as well as humans. 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. The habitat of Siberian elk in Asia is similar to that of the Rocky Mountain subspecies in North America. During the Late Pleistocene their range was much more extensive, being distributed across Eurasia, with remains being found as far west as France. These populations are most closely related to modern Asian populations of the elk. Their range collapsed at the start of the Holocene, due to them being specialized to cold periglacial tundrasteppe habitat, which was largely replaced with closed forest, being outcompeted by red deer in these conditions. Relictual populations survived into the early Holocene in southern Sweden and the Alps, where the environment remained favorable.
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. Since the late 1990s, elk were reintroduced and recolonized in the states of Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. In 2017, a male elk, likely from the Smoky Mountains population, was sighted in South Carolina for the first time in nearly 300 years. Elk have also been reintroduced to a number of other states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri  and Etolin and Afognak Islands in Alaska. Reintroduction of the elk into Ontario began in the early 20th century, and is ongoing with limited success. As of 1989, population figures for the Rocky Mountain subspecies were 782,500, and estimated numbers for all North American subspecies exceeded 1 million. Prior to the European colonization of North America, there were an estimated 10 million elk on the continent.
Outside their native habitat, elk and other deer species, especially white-tailed deer, 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 in the early 20th century. 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. This negative impact on native animal species has led the IUCN to identify the elk as one of the world's 100 worst invaders.
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. There is significant hybridization 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. As in Chile and Argentina, the IUCN has declared that red deer and elk populations in New Zealand are an invasive species.
Elk have played an important role in the cultural history of a number of peoples. Neolithic petroglyphs from Asia depict antler-less female elk, which have been interpreted as symbolizing life and sustenance. They were also frequently overlaid with boats and associated with rivers, suggesting that they also represented paths to the underworld. Petroglyphs of elk were carved into cliffs by the Anasazi of the southwestern U.S. hundreds of years ago. The elk was of particular importance to the Lakota, and played a spiritual role in their society. The male elk was admired for its ability to attract mates and Lakota men will play a courting flute imitating a bugling elk to attract women. Men would like use elk antlers as love charms and wore clothes decorated with elk images.
The Rocky Mountain elk is the official state animal for Utah. An image of an elk and a moose appear on the state seal and 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 appropriate for cultivation by members of the fraternity. 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. A prized possession of many members of the B.P.O.E. are jewel encrusted, gold mounted elk teeth – which are actually ivory.
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.
While elk are not generally harvested for meat production on a large scale, 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 and cholesterol than beef, pork, and chicken. Elk meat is also a good source of iron, phosphorus and zinc.
A male elk can produce 10 to 11 kilograms (22 to 24 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. 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.
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. Elk hides have been used by Native Americans for tepee covering, clothing and footwear.
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 80% of the proceeds returned to the refuge. In 2010, 2,520 kilograms (5,560 lb) of antlers were auctioned, bringing in over $46,000.
- Brook, S.M.; Pluháček, J.; Lorenzini, R.; Lovari, S.; Masseti, M.; Pereladova, O.; Mattioli, S. (2018). "Cervus canadensis (errata version published in 2019)". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T55997823A142396828. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
- Erxleben, J.C.P. (1777) Anfangsgründe der Naturlehre and Systema regni animalis. Göttingen.
- Fergus, Chuck. "Elk" (PDF). Pennsylvania Game Commission. Retrieved 2010-12-03.
- "Wapiti". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
- Grubb, P. (2005). "Order Artiodactyla". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 662–663. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Verts, B. J.; Carraway, Leslie N. (August 1998). Land Mammals of Oregon. University of California. p. 464. ISBN 978-0-520-21199-5.
- "The Case of the Irish Elk". University of California, Berkeley. Archived from the original on 2005-11-11. Retrieved 2010-12-03.
- Lovari, S.; Herrero. J., Conroy; J., Maran; T., Giannatos; G., Stubbe; M., Aulagnier; S., Jdeidi; T., Masseti; M. Nader, I.; de Smet, K.; et al. (2008). "Cervus elaphus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008. Retrieved 7 Dec 2010.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)old-form url
- Ludt, Christian J.; Schroeder, Wolf; Rottmann, Oswald; Kuehn, Ralph (2004). "Mitochondrial DNA phylogeography of red deer (Cervus elaphus)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 31 (3): 1064–1083. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2003.10.003. PMID 15120401.
- Geist, Valerius (1998). Deer of the World: Their Evolution, Behavior, and Ecology. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. pp. 211–219. ISBN 978-0-8117-0496-0. OCLC 37713037.
- Groves, Colin (2006). "The genus Cervus in eastern Eurasia" (PDF). European Journal of Wildlife Research. 52: 14–22. doi:10.1007/s10344-005-0011-5. S2CID 33193408. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-06-29. Retrieved 2014-08-02.
- Groves, Colin (2005). "The genus Cervus in eastern Eurasia". European Journal of Wildlife Research. 52: 14–22. doi:10.1007/s10344-005-0011-5. S2CID 33193408.
- "American Elk (Cervus elaphus)" (PDF). Natural Resources Conservation Service. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
- 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. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Allen, Craig. "Elk Reintroductions". U.S. Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Mattioli (2011). Family Cervidae (Deer). (350-443). In: Wilson, D. E., Mittermeier, R. A., (Hrsg.). Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Volume 2: Hooved Mammals. Lynx Edicions, 2009. ISBN 978-84-96553-77-4
- "Cervus elaphus". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Eide, Sterling. "Roosevelt Elk". Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Robb, B. (2001). The Ultimate Guide to Elk Hunting. The Lyons Press. p. 7. ISBN 1-58574-180-9..
- "Tule Elk". California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
- "Antlers Make a Point". National Geographic. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
- "Friends of the Prairie Learning Center". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Archived from the original on 2010-10-18. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Zumbo, J. (2000). Elk Hunting. Quarto Publishing Group USA. p. 15. ISBN 9781610603102.
- Pisarowicz, Jim. "American Elk – Cervus elephus". National Park Service. Archived from the original on January 15, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-05.
- Geist, Valerius (June 1993). Elk Country. Minneapolis: NorthWord Press. ISBN 978-1-55971-208-8.
- "Elk". Living with Wildlife. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Archived from the original on 2011-01-10. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Bowyer, R. Terry, and David W. Kitchen. "Significance of scent-marking by Roosevelt elk." Journal of Mammalogy 68.2 (1987): 418-423.
- Youngquist, Robert S; Threlfall, Walter R (2006-11-23). Current Therapy in Large Animal Theriogenology. ISBN 978-1-4377-1340-4.
- "Elk (Cervus elaphus)". South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. Archived from the original on 2006-09-05. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Reby, D.; Wyman, M. T.; Frey, R.; Passilongo, D.; Gilbert, J.; Locatelli, Y.; Charlton, B. D. (2016). "Evidence of biphonation and source-filter interactions in the bugles of male North American wapiti (Cervus canadensis)". Journal of Experimental Biology. 219 (8): 1224–36. doi:10.1242/jeb.131219. PMID 27103677.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Sell, Randy. "Elk". Alternative Agriculture Series. North Dakota State University. Archived from the original on 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- "Elk Biology and interesting facts". History of Elk in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Elk Reintroduction Project. Archived from the original on 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Smith, B. L.; Anderson, S. H. (2001). "Does Dispersal Help Regulate the Jackson Elk Herd?". Wildlife Society Bulletin. 29 (1): 331–341. JSTOR 3784017.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- "Elk biology". Great Smoky Mountains. National Park Service. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Griffin, K. A.; Hebblewhite, M.; et al. (2011). "Neonatal mortality of elk driven by climate, predator phenology and predator community composition". Journal of Animal Ecology. 80 (6): 1246–1257. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2656.2011.01856.x.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Hayward, M. W.; Jędrzejewski, W.; Jędrzejewska, B. (2012). "Prey preferences of the tiger Panthera tigris". Journal of Zoology. 286 (3): 221–231. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2011.00871.x.
- "Coyotes". National Park Service. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Barber, Shannon; Mech, L. David; White, P. J. (Summer 2005). "Elk Calf Mortality Post–Wolf Restoration Bears Remain Top Summer Predators" (PDF). Yellowstone Science. National Park Service. 13 (3): 37–44. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-07-04. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Christianson, David; Creel, Scott (2010). "nutritionally mediated risk effect of wolves on elk". Ecology. 91 (4): 1184–1191. doi:10.1890/09-0221.1. PMID 20462132.
- Wilmers, C. C.; et al. (2020). "How climate impacts the composition of wolf‐killed elk in northern Yellowstone National Park". Journal of Animal Ecology. 89 (6): 1511–1519. doi:10.1111/1365-2656.13200. PMC 7317765. PMID 32145069.
- Metz, M. C.; et al. (2018). "Predation shapes the evolutionary traits of cervid weapons". Nature Ecology & Evolution. 2 (10): 1619–1625. doi:10.1038/s41559-018-0657-5. PMID 30177803. S2CID 52147419.
- Jenkins, Kurt (May 31, 2001). "Ecology Of Elk Inhabiting Crater Lake National Park And Vicinity". National Park Service. Archived from the original on August 27, 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Cook, J. G.; Irwin, L. L.; Bryant, L. D.; Riggs, R. A.; Thomas, J. W. (1998). "Relations of forest cover and condition of elk: a test of the thermal cover hypothesis in summer and winter". Wildlife Monographs. 141 (141): 3–61. JSTOR 3830857.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- "National Elk Refuge". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Service. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- "Feeding Elk Cows". Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives. Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Pond, Wilson; Bell, Alan (2005). Encyclopedia of Animal Science. Marcel Dekker. p. 280. ISBN 978-0-8247-5496-9. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- "Elk biology" (PDF). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. July 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 4, 2011. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- "The wolf has a story to tell in Banff National Park". Nature. Envirozine. May 31, 2007. Archived from the original on June 30, 2007. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- McConnell, B. R.; Smith, J. G. (1970). "Frequency Distributions of Deer and Elk Pellet Groups". The Journal of Wildlife Management. 34 (1): 29–36. doi:10.2307/3799488. JSTOR 3799488.
- Ripple, W; Larsen, Eric J; Renkin, Roy A; Smith, Douglas W (2001). "Trophic cascades among wolves, elk and aspen on Yellowstone National Park's northern range". Biological Conservation. 102 (3): 227–234. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.578.4763. doi:10.1016/S0006-3207(01)00107-0.
- Thorne, E. T.; Williams, E. S.; Samuel, W. M.; Kistner, T. P. (2002). North American Elk: Ecology and Management. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. pp. 351–387. ISBN 978-1-58834-018-4.
- McIntosh, Terese; Rosatte, Rick; Campbell, Doug; Welch, Kate; Fournier, Dominique; Spinato, Maria; Ogunremi, Oladele (2007). "Evidence of Parelaphostrongylus tenuis infections in free-ranging elk (Cervus elaphus) in southern Ontario". The Canadian Veterinary Journal. 48 (11): 1146–51, 1154. PMC 2034421. PMID 18050795.
- Bildfell, Robert J.; Whipps, Christopher M.; Gillin, Colin M.; Kent, Michael L. (2007). "DNA-based identification of a hepatic trematode in an elk calf". Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 43 (4): 762–9. doi:10.7589/0090-3558-43.4.762. PMID 17984277. S2CID 28845256.
- Belay, E. D.; Maddox, R. A.; Williams, E. S.; Miller, Gambetti, P.; Schonberger, L. B. (2004). "Chronic Wasting Disease and Potential Transmission to Humans". Emerging Infectious Diseases. 10 (6): 977–984. doi:10.3201/eid1006.031082. PMC 3323184. PMID 15207045.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Hansen, Ray (November 2006). "Elk Profile". Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- "Brucellosis and Yellowstone Bison" (PDF). Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, USDA. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-05. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Nol, Pauline; Olsen, Steven C.; Rhyan, Jack C.; Sriranganathan, Nammalwar; McCollum, Matthew P.; Hennager, Steven G.; Pavuk, Alana A.; Sprino, Phillip J.; Boyle, Stephen M.; Berrier, Randall J.; Salman, Mo D. (10 February 2016). "Vaccination of Elk (Cervus canadensis) with Brucella abortus Strain RB51 Overexpressing Superoxide Dismutase and Glycosyltransferase Genes Does Not Induce Adequate Protection against Experimental Brucella abortus Challenge". Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology. 6: 10. doi:10.3389/fcimb.2016.00010. PMC 4748031. PMID 26904509.
- Hattel, Arthur L.; Shaw, Daniel P.; Fisher, Jenny S.; Brooks, Jason W.; Love, Brenda C.; Drake, Thomas R.; Wagner, Donald C. (2007). "Mortality in Pennsylvania captive elk (Cervus elaphus): 1998–2006". Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. 19 (3): 334–7. doi:10.1177/104063870701900322. PMID 17459871.
- "Treponeme associated hoof disease in Washington elk". Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. 2017. Archived from the original on 20 August 2017. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
- Hogan, Jackson (1 June 2017). "WSU: Elk hoof disease will not be easy fix". The Columbian. Longview, Washington. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
- "Elk Hoof Disease Fact Sheet" (PDF). Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
- Flannery, Tim (2001-05-10). The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples. Atlantic Monthly Press. pp. 212–217. ISBN 978-0-87113-789-0.
- Croitor, Roman (December 2019). "A new form of wapiti Cervus canadensis Erxleben, 1777 (Cervidae, Mammalia) from the Late Pleistocene of France". Palaeoworld: S1871174X19301295. doi:10.1016/j.palwor.2019.12.001.
- Cochran, Bill (June 27, 2004). "Virginia officials take no joy in elk celebration". The Roanoke Times. Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- "Returning Elk to the Southeast: A 20-year Retrospective". Wildlife Management Institute. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
- Keith Allen. "First elk seen in South Carolina since the 1700s". CNN. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
- Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Plan for Elk Watching and Nature Tourism in North Central Pennsylvania, August 2002.
- Armas, Genaro C. (2010-12-06). "Pennsylvania banks on elk to draw visitors". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2012-03-09.
- "Elk return to Missouri after 150-year absence | Missouri Department of Conservation". mdc.mo.gov. Retrieved 2016-11-21.
- Elk hunting in Alaska, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Wildlife Conservation
- Hamr, Josef; Mallory, Frank F.; Filion, Ivan (2016). "The History of Elk (Cervus canadensis) Restoration in Ontario". The Canadian Field-Naturalist. 130 (2): 167–173. doi:10.22621/cfn.v130i2.1842. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- Peek, James. "North American Elk". U.S. Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- "Rocky Mountain Elk". U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
- "Elk and Elk Hunting". Petersen's Hunting. Archived from the original on 2006-08-06. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- "Diet of Huemul deer (Hippocamelus bisulcus) in Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina". Taylor and Francis Ltd. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Flueck, Werner. "Cervus elaphus (mammal)". Global Invasive Species Database. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- "Deer farming in New Zealand". Deer Farmer. November 29, 2003. Archived from the original on May 24, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Husheer, Sean W. (April 30, 2007). "Introduced red deer reduce tree regeneration in Pureora Forest, central North Island, New Zealand" (PDF). New Zealand Journal of Ecology. New Zealand Ecological Society. 31 (1): 79–87.
- Jacobson, Esther (2018). The Deer Goddess of Ancient Siberia: A Study in the Ecology of Belief. Brill Academic Publishers. pp. 96–97. ISBN 9789004378780.
- Smith, Bruce L. (2010). Wildlife on the Wind: A Field Biologist's Journey and an Indian Reservation's Renewal. Utah State University Press. ISBN 9780874217926.
- Duda, Kathryn M. "Courting on the Plains: 19th Century Lakota Style". Carnegie Magazine Online. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
- "Utah State Symbols". Utah.com LC. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- "The Michigan State Flag". NSTATE, LLC. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- "California-Hawaii Elks Association". Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
- "Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks". Phoenixmasonry, Inc. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- "2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation" (PDF). United States Fish and Wildlife Service. 2006. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- "Elk Meat Nutritional Information". Wapiti.net. Archived from the original on 2010-12-15. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- "Nutritional Summary for Game meat, elk, raw". Condé Nast Publications. 2007. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
- Angers, Rachel C.; Seward, Tanya S.; Napier, Dana; Green, Michael; Hoover, Edward; Spraker, Terry; O'Rourke, Katherine; Balachandran, Aru; Telling, Glenn C. (2009). "Chronic Wasting Disease Prions in Elk Antler Velvet". Emerging Infectious Diseases. 15 (5): 696–703. doi:10.3201/eid1505.081458. PMC 2687044. PMID 19402954.
- "Colorado Indians: Shelters". University of North Colorado. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
- Paterek, J. (1996). Encyclopedia of American Indian Costume. Norton. pp. 88, 137, 224. ISBN 9780393313826.
- "43rd annual elk antler auction held in Jackson" (PDF) (Press release). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. May 22, 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 11, 2012. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
|Wikispecies has information related to Cervus canadensis|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cervus canadensis.|
- Arizona Elk Arizona Game and Fish Department
- Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
- Yellowstone Elk – Greater Yellowstone Resource Guide
- Smithsonian Institution - North American Mammals: Cervus (elaphus) canadensis