THE SIKA DEER OF ARNE
As I’ve got so many photographs (!) I’ve decided to dedicate a post just to the Sika Deer.
Name - Sika (cervus nippon)
Introduction – First introduced into Britain, from Japan, in 1860 and to Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour in 1896, being good swimmers they soon made their way onto the Arne peninsular!
Habitat – Coniferous woods, heathland on acid soils and also the marshland at Arne.
Food – Grazers of grass and small shrubs, especially heather, coniferous tree shoots and sometimes small amounts of tree bark.
Impact – The Sika will readily interbreed with the Red Deer and as a consequence it is believed that there are no “pure” Red Deer left in the British Isles.
On the Arne reserve the herd has grown so large that its eating habits are altering the delicate balance of the plant life. A study by Bournemouth University and a controlled culling programme is underway.