Yes they can. However, their offspring are born with confused instincts and don’t usually do well in the wild.
The elk or wapiti(Cervus canadensis) is one of the largest species of deer in the world and one of the largest land mammals in North America. In the deer family (Cervidae), only the larger moose (Alces alces), rival the elk in size. Elk are similar to the Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) found in Europe, of which they were long believed to be a subspecies. However, evidence from a 2004 study of the mitochondrial DNA indicates they are a distinct species.The Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) does breed with elk and New Zealand has had thriving red deer, elk and elk-hybrid breeding since the early 1960’s.
President Theodore Roosevelt shipped a small excess elk herd from Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park in the early 1900’s and over the years these animals mingled with imiported European Red Deer which survived will in New Zealands forests and glens where they were later captured and domesticated by game ranchers.
Yes, the hybrid of a male elk and a female red deer is called a “red stag”. Interbreeding is actually very common between the red deer and the elk, which causes genetic confusion.
Weird fact: there is actually a device called the Genomnz that measures the amount of elk DNA in hybrids. Since there is so much genetic confusion, pure forms of either the elk or red deer are rare.
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