Century Game Park Bison


Meet the North American Elk - or Wapiti

You can see the resemblance of the elk to their well-known kin, the white-tailed deer. However, elk are much larger. Among Canadian deer, they are second in size only to the moose.

An elk's coat can range in colour, from reddish brown during the summer to a dark brown in winter. Although it may appear white from a distance, the rump of an elk is more of a tan or coppery colour. Elk have long, blackish hair on the neck that is referred to as a mane.

Male elk grow massive antlers new each year over the course of a few months during spring & summer. Their antlers are encased in velvety covering that protects them during growth. In later summer, the male elk will rub off the velvet, revealing the bone beneath. Newly cleaned antlers are light grey in colour but become stained by rubbing and thrashing through vegetation during the rutting season.

"Elk" is the name by which most Canadians know this majestic deer. "Wapiti," meaning "white rump," is the Shawnee Indian name. Quite often you will hear it refered to in it's native name by the scientific community. This is because the animal known as an "elk" in Europe is not a red deer at all but a close relative of the North American moose!