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Facts about deer

Red deer stag in velvet, Kelvin Heights, Queenstown. Photo: Rod Morris.
Red deer stag

Wild populations of deer can be found throughout New Zealand, with the exception of Northland. These animals are the descendants of deer that were imported and liberated here from 1851.

Red deer is the most widespread species, and is also the most commonly farmed deer. A related deer is the wapiti, which occurs in northern Fiordland. Fallow deer were introduced from 1860 and are now found in many low-altitude forests, partly the result of farm escapes. Sika, rusa and sambar populations occur only in the North Island. Sika live in the Kaweka and Kaimanawa Forest Parks in the central North Island, rusa in the Ikawhenua Range near Galatea, and sambar in the Manawatu and Bay of Plenty. White-tailed deer live on Stewart Island and near Lake Wakatipu in the South Island.