The Sika Deer is native to much of East Asia, ranging from The Ussuri Region of Siberia southwards towards Korea, Manchuria and Northern and Southern China. It is also native to Taiwan and Japan. Sika Deer inhabit mixed coniferous and deciduous forests to the north, and mixed subtropical evergreen forests to the south.

Sika Deer are widespread in Japan, and readily become tame; at one time they were regarded as sacred. Following Japanesesettlement of Hokkaido Island in the latter half of the 19th century, the deer there were hunted almost to the point ofextinction, and were reduced to a few small populations. Legal protection put in place in the mid 20th century was followedby rapid population recovery from the 1950s to the 1980s. In the absence of the natural predators (wolves, now extinct in Japan), some hunting is now encouraged in order to stabilize the population and limit the agricultural damage done by the deer.

Deer are also present in the more populated islands of Japan: for example, in the ancient capital city of Nara, as well as the sacred island of Miyajima, they wander at will among the temples, and are much photographed (and fed) by tourists. In other parts of Asia, the deer have been extensively hunted and legal protection has been less effective, so that several populations and subspecies are now endangered.

Formosan Sika Deer have been introduced into a number of other countries including the United States. In many cases, they were originally introduced as ornamental animals in parkland, but have established themselves in the wild in some of the countries.

Dybowski's sika deer and Formosan sika deer are highly endangered and possibly already extinct in the wild. They can be found in several zoos and are being kept alive by a captive-management program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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