North American wapiti (Cervus elaphus sub species)_ evolved within, and inhabit, an extremely varied environment generally not apparent within any pastoral farm environment. Normal farm management practices also reduce disease and predation; modify or prevent behavioral strategies such as migration, wallowing and isolation at calving; impose artificial mate selection; result in the removal of antlers in velvet, and premature dissociation of familial groups. Whilst the object of these practices is to utilise deer for animal production, primarily meat and velvet antler, the vast changes imposed will undoubtedly result in rapid changes in genetic, physiological, morphological and behavioral characteristics of the animals. Deer provide a unique opportunity to study and manipulate the effects of farming in a large ruminant, but at the same time the ecological requirements of the animal should be considered.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 53, , 393-396, 1993
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