Desert Elk (Wapiti)

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My good friend, Dave Rintoul, has just returned from a much-deserved vacation camping in the Chiricahuas and Gila Wilderness area and sent a couple images to share with you.

Wapiti, Cervus canadensis, grazing at sunset with Chaco Canyon’s Fajada Butte in the background. Desert elk… Who knew?
Image: Dave Rintoul, June 2008 [larger view].

About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
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0 Responses to Desert Elk (Wapiti)

  1. Thank you! We continue to see proof that nature can exist in the desert if we leave it alone and don’t tinker with the biosphere.

  2. EngineerType says:

    Chaco Canyon is a very isolated place where hunting is not allowed, surrounded by land where it is. Elk know these things.

  3. Bob O'H says:

    Another nice picture, even if there is no albatross.
    Alas, I’ve been corrupted by systematists:
    C. elaphus is red deer. You Yanks have screwed up the names of deer, so I had to check. Elk over here is Alces alces, or your moose. According to wiki, what you have there is C. canadensis.
    The bottom line is that none of them taste like chicken.

  4. interesting! the last i’d heard is that american elk were considered to be a subspecies of the european red deer. i am behind the taxonomic curve. boo to me!
    i’ve actually eaten wapiti and you’re right, they taste nothing like chicken.