Watchable Wildlife Manitoba



Photo by Robert R. Taylor
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Elk, or wapiti, are a little smaller than a moose, but larger than other members of the deer family. An adult male weighs about 300 to 350 kg, with some large bulls as much as 500 kg in late summer before the rut. Cows are smaller, weighting about 250 kg. Elk have a dark brown head and neck with the rest of the body a lighter brown. Elk are often called "wapiti," the Shawnee name which means "white rump."

Elk were widely distributed from Quebec to British Columbia when Europeans first arrived in Canada. On the Prairies, agriculture and settlement have taken the elk herds habitat.

Today elk occupy forest or parkland regions, where small groups of six or seven are common. Manitoba currently has a herd of about 7,000 animals, centered on Riding Mountain National Park.

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