European and Siberian roe deer

Submitted by Looduskalender EN on Wed, 08.02.2017 - 12:51
metskits sametsarvedega
The population density of roe deer is highest in Central Europe: Germany, Austria, southern Sweden, reaching to  several hundred individuals per 1000 hectares. By comparison in Estonia the population density of roe deer is around some tens of individuals per  1000 hectares.
Photo: Tarmo Mikussaar
Posted by the Animal of the Year team in Estonian 29.01.2017

As a species the roe deer occurs from the Iberian Peninsula to (almost) the Volga River, from northern Finland to the Mediterranean countries, Caucasus and northern Iran. The range is partly patchy, for instance in Ireland, the islands of the Mediterranean, eastern Finland and a few more locations this pleasant game animal is not found. The roe deer inhabiting Siberia were once thought to belong to the same species but today it is clear that the areas east of Volga are inhabited by another species (Capreolus pygargus).  Repeated attempts have been made to settle the Siberian roe deer, with larger and more handsome antlers, in Europe to make them distribute their valuable genes here but the attempts have been unsuccessful. Studying the reasons it has become clear that the genotypes differ and that getting offspring is not likely. Offspring is born only from a coupling between a European roe deer goat and a Siberian doe, and of those only the female offspring is fertile – so German game biologists have written. So it is possible in principle that among the population of Capreolus capreolus in some European regions genes from the Siberian roe deer may be present. It is believed that at some time attempts have been made to settle Siberian roe deer in Saaremaa but these tales cannot be confirmed nor disproved. The antlers of roe deer in Saaremaa differ however slightly from those on the mainland, reminding in shape somewhat those of their Siberian relative.

Tiit Randveer

siberi metskits
The antlers of the Siberian roe deer have a slightly different shape compared to those of the European one.
Photo from:


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