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Roosevelt Elk
 Roosevelt Elk Facts and Information

Roosevelt Elk - Bull and Cow
Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service - Heims, Kirk

Common Name: Roosevelt Elk (Olympic Elk)
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Genus: Cervus
Species: Cervus canadensis
Subspecies: Cervus canadensis roosevelti

The Roosevelt Elk, also known as Olympic Elk or Wapiti, are the largest of the elk subspecies. Mature elk can weigh anywhere from 600 to 1,100 pounds (275 to 500kg) when mature, with a height at the shoulder up to 5 feet (150 cm). The Roosevelt Elk tend to be a deeper darker brown than the relatively smaller Rocky Mountain Elk, and have a darker mane and yellowish-brown rump. Roosevelt Elk tend to have narrower antlers than the Rocky Mountain elk, but usually have much more mass and height. The average length of a Roosevelt Elk is 8 feet, but mature bull elk have also been measured up to 10 feet.
Roosevelt Elk - Front Hoof Print
Front Hoof Print
Roosevelt Elk - Rear Hoof Print
Rear Hoof Print

Roosevelt Elk Distribution/Habitat

Roosevelt Elk - Distribution

The Roosevelt Elk are located in the rain forests of the western Cascade Mountains, from northern California, Oregon, Washington, and into British Columbia, with the largest herd (about 5,000) being located in Olympic National Park in Washington State. Roosevelt Elk were also transplanted from the Olympic Peninsula to Afognak Island (Alaska) in 1929. The herd is now roughly 1,200 strong. The elk located on this particular island have also been known to weigh as much as 1,300 pounds (590 kg) mostly due to the abundance in their food supply. In the early 1900’s the Roosevelt Elk population plummeted to only about a dozen animals. Theodore Roosevelt, an avid hunter and an active contributor to wildlife conservation, created Olympic National Park (then called Mount Olympus National Monument) for future generations to enjoy and to provide protection for the Roosevelt Elk.

Roosevelt Elk Diet

Roosevelt Elk - Afognak Island
Elk Released on Afognak Island - 1929
Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service, Madsen, Charles

Roosevelt Elk primarily eat various grasses that are plentiful during typical years, as well as eating foliage from shrubs, trees and bushes.

Roosevelt Elk Reproduction

Roosevelt Elk - Herd
Credit: Walter Siegmund ©2005 Walter Siegmund

Roosevelt Elk calves are usually born from mid-May to mid-June and weigh between 30 to 35 pounds at birth. Calves are born with spots which are gone by the end of summer. The calves are weaned from their mother’s milk at two months of age, leaving the comfort of their mother just before the breeding season begins in the next year.

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