American Elk

OUR ANIMALS

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American Elk

Common name: American Elk
Scientific name:
Cervus canadensis

Habitat:
American Elk live in primarily in western North America (with some smaller eastern populations), from south-western Canada to New Mexico.

At the zoo: A herd of 4 females, and males Manny (10y) & Manoah (10y)

Diet:
Leaves, roots and tubers, wood, bark, stems, bryophytes, and lichens.

Life Expectancy:
25 years

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Biology:
American Elk are the largest of the elk family, weighing up to 500 kilograms. Every spring, male elk begin to grow a new pair of antlers. While the antlers grow, they are covered with a thin velvet. By late summer, the antlers are hard and begin to shed their velvet. In the winter, the antlers get hard near the skull and fall off. On a mature bull, the antlers can reach 1.2 m above its head and weigh over 36 kg.

Male and female elk live in separate herds until the fall mating season. During the mating season, a male brings together his own herd of females, known as a harem, and protects it carefully from other males. Each cow typically has a single calf, which can stand within one hour of its birth.

Wilderness preserves and parks are essential in protecting the American elk from habitat loss and poaching.

Fun Fact:
Did you know that a summer herd of elk can be as many as 400 individuals!


  • GVZOO animal

    GVZOO animal

  • GVZOO animal

    GVZOO animal

Categories: Mammals

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