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Thread: Genetic purity and Sika deer in Great Britain

  1. #1

    Genetic purity and Sika deer in Great Britain

    Sika now appear in many locations throughout Britain and Red/Sika hybrids have doubtless occurred in some areas where the two meet. Can anyone explain which Sika subspecies occur in the area they stalk and if they are hybridising with reds? What policy should be adopted when managing a population of these species together? and is it important/possible to preserve not only the genetic purity of Red deer but also the Sika?

  2. #2
    Stag 1933 ( HH ) will have most if not all the answers your looking for on this subject

    Bob

  3. #3
    I was rather hoping to get an overview of the whole of GB from stalkers currently involved in managing these two species together.

  4. #4
    Sika I stalk in Peebleshire are the Japanese type ( Nippon Nippon) The valley I stalk in there are two big blocks. The FC years ago had a big push to try and control the Sika numbers in the valley to prevent the migration west and Sika meeting up with Reds in Dumfriesshire. After three years of continual culling it made no difference, numbers were much the same. In the end the FC sold the blocks of woodland and the rest is history. Sika deer are here to stay in the Borders and what happens / happens not much man can do about that, as tried in the past.

    It was noted at the last Borders Sika Deer management group meeting that it wasthe consensus of the FC head ranger and the rest of the group that it took 20 man hours to kill each sika and 8 for each roe in the Borders.


    It was also noted at the last meeting that high genetic value of the Sika population was something that landowners may not have capitalised on in the past. I for one know that some Danish hunters coming to the Borders do so due to the genetic purity and size of the sika deer we have.
    Last edited by Von; 20-10-2015 at 07:56.

  5. #5
    If you have any way of gaining access to them, these papers should provide the current understanding at a genetic level:

    Wyman et al 2014 "No preference in female sika deer for conspecific over heterospecific male sexual calls in a mate choice context" J. Zoology 293:92-99.

    Perez-Espona et al. 2013 "The Impact of Past Introductions on an Iconic and Economically Important Species, the Red Deer of Scotland". Journal of Heredity 104:14-22.

    Perez-Espona et al. 2011 "Assessing the impact of past wapiti introductions into Scottish Highland red deer populations using a Y chromosome marker". Mammalian biology 76:640-643.

    Zachos et al 2011 "Phylogeography, population genetics and conservation of the European red deer Cervus elaphus". Mammal Review 41:138-150.

    Wyman et al. 2011 "Variability of Female Responses to Conspecific vs. Heterospecific Male Mating Calls in Polygynous Deer: An Open Door to Hybridization?" PLOS 1 6:e23296.

    Senn et al. 2010 "Variable extent of hybridization between invasive sika (Cervus nippon) and native red deer (C-elaphus) in a small geographical area". Molecular Ecology 18:862-876.

    Senn at el. 2010 "Phenotypic correlates of hybridisation between red and sika deer (genus Cervus)". J. Anim. Ecology 79:414-425.

    Senn et al 2010 "Investigating temporal changes in hybridization and introgression in a predominantly bimodal hybridizing population of invasive sika (Cervus nippon) and native red deer (C-elaphus) on the Kintyre Peninsula, Scotland". Molecular Ecology 19:910-924.

    Perez-Espona et al 2010 "Red and sika deer in the British Isles, current management issues and management policy". Mammalian Biology 74:247-262.

    If you can't get access, and really want to read some or all of them, drop me a PM with your email adderss and I'll send you the pdfs.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Von View Post
    It was noted at the last Borders Sika Deer management group meeting that it wasthe consensus of the FC head ranger and the rest of the group that it took 20 man hours to kill each sika and 8 for each roe in the Borders.
    That makes me feel so much better about my string of blanks of late!

  7. #7
    At a very simple level aren't the Red Deer, the Sika and the American Elk or Wapati all basically the same species but have somewhat varied due to geography. The Sika are from Eastern Russia, whereas red are more European - wherabouts in Russia do reds stop and Sika begin, or does the Mongolian desert / Siberian stepp provide a big barrier.

  8. #8
    At present I am hunting both species on one of the areas I have in Scotland. Having stalked and managed both species for many years I can honestly say that in all those years I have only seen and shot 2 first year cross hybrids.

    I do not believe that every Red deer in Scotland is tainted with Sika, nature is not that stupid and in general it will be Sika stags mating with Red hinds that have wandered into new areas. I have watched Sika gradually spread along the entire areas I have stalked over the past 30 years. They are aggressive deer and the Roe population seems to have diminished greatly in many areas where they were once fairly common.

    So far we have 13 stags for the 2 weeks stalking, but again it has been very warm and dry for this far north.
    All grades of deer stalkers/hunters in the UK and overseas catered for. Level 2 DMQ signing off available. Over 30 years experience in the stalking/hunting industry. For friendly and professional help go to www.UKOutfitters.co.uk

    ZEISS PRO STALKER.

  9. #9
    It's pretty simple to find out. Pull some hairs with the follicles still attached, put into a dry envelope & send off & wait for the DNA. I would have thought that the larger deer hunting orgs would be all over this already?

    Sharkey
    "Men Who Stare at Deer."

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by sikamalc View Post
    I do not believe that every Red deer in Scotland is tainted with Sika, nature is not that stupid and in general it will be Sika stags mating with Red hinds that have wandered into new areas. I have watched Sika gradually spread along the entire areas I have stalked over the past 30 years. They are aggressive deer and the Roe population seems to have diminished greatly in many areas where they were once fairly common.
    The genetic data broadly backs this up: actual matings between red and sika are rare (for instance, the genetics seems to indicate just 5 actual events on Kintyre).

    However, there is a fair bit of introgression, which is where genes from one species can spread through the other after a hybridisation event (ie. the hybrid calf grows up, mates with a red deer, and some of the sika genes it carried end up in its calves, and so on). There is evidence that this is fairly common in some areas - and it is very hard to detect from phenotype alone. But even then, it's not very common at the level of the whole country.
    Last edited by Mungo; 20-10-2015 at 10:08.

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