Large Wollaton Red Deer, Stag Decoration
Dimensions 23.5 x 13.8 x 22 cm
Wild Deer at Wollaton Hall & Deer Park
The wild deer at Wollaton Hall & Deer Park have been a major attraction for over 500 years, 90 red and 120 fallow deer roam freely in the park and have done since the fourteenth century. During the rutting season (September and October), stags are protective of hinds, and during calving season (June and July) the deer tend to their young.
The red deer (Cervus elaphus) is one of the largest deer species. The red deer inhabits most of Europe, the Caucasus Mountains region, Asia Minor, Iran, parts of western Asia, and central Asia. It also inhabits the Atlas Mountains region between Morocco and Tunisia in northwestern Africa, being the only species of deer to inhabit Africa. Red deer have been introduced to other areas, including Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada, Peru, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina.
Red deer are ruminants, characterized by a four-chambered stomach. Genetic evidence indicates the red deer as traditionally defined is a species group, rather than a single species, although it remains disputed as to exactly how many species the group includes. The closely related and slightly larger American elk or wapiti, native to North America and eastern parts of Asia, had been regarded as a subspecies of red deer, but recently it has been established as a distinct species. It is probable that the ancestor of all red deer, including wapiti, originated in central Asia and resembled sika deer.
Although at one time red deer were rare in parts of Europe, they were never close to extinction. Reintroduction and conservation efforts, such as in the United Kingdom and Portugal, have resulted in an increase of red deer populations, while other areas, such as North Africa, have continued to show a population decline.