Roosevelt elk

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Roosevelt elk
Roosevelt Elk at Northwest Trek.jpg
Male (bull) at Northwest Trek, Washington, US
Roosevelt Elk.jpg
Female at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California, US
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Suborder: Ruminantia
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Cervinae
Genus: Cervus
Species: C. canadensis
Subspecies: C. c. roosevelti
Binomial name
Cervus canadensis
(Erxleben, 1777)[1]
Trinomial name
Cervus canadensis roosevelti

The Roosevelt elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti), also known as Olympic elk, is the largest of the four surviving subspecies of elk in North America.[2] They live in the rain forests of the Pacific Northwest and were introduced to Alaska's Afognak and Raspberry Islands in 1928.[3][4] The desire to protect the elk was one of the primary forces behind the establishment of the Mount Olympus National Monument (later Olympic National Park) in 1909.[5]


Adults grow to around 6–10 ft (1.8–3 m) in length and stand 2.5–5 ft (0.75–1.5 m) tall at the shoulder.[4] Elk bulls generally weigh between 700 and 1100 lb (300–500 kg), while cows weigh 575–625 lb (260–285 kg).[2] Some mature bulls from Raspberry Island in Alaska have weighed nearly 1300 lb (600 kg).[2]

From late spring to early fall, Roosevelt elk feed on herbaceous plants, such as grasses and sedges.[4] During winter months, they feed on woody plants, including highbush cranberry, elderberry, devil's club, and newly planted seedlings (Douglas-fir and western redcedar).[4] Roosevelt elk are also known to eat blueberries, mushrooms, lichens, and salmonberries.[4]

Life cycle

In the wild, Roosevelt elk rarely live beyond 12 to 15 years, but in captivity have been known to live over 25 years.[4]

See also


  1. Erxleben, J.C.P. (1777) Anfangsgründe der Naturlehre and Systema regni animalis.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Robb, Bob (January 2001). The Ultimate Guide to Elk Hunting. The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-58574-180-9. 
  3. Nancy Gates, ed. (November 2006). The Alaska Almanac: Facts about Alaska 30th Anniversary Edition. Alaska Northwest Books. ISBN 0-88240-652-3. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Rennick, Penny (November 1996). Mammals of Alaska. Alaska Geographic Society. ISBN 1-56661-034-6. 
  5. Houston, Douglas; Jenkins, Kurt. "Roosevelt Elk Ecology". Retrieved 2007-12-28. 

External links