What kind of animal is the Yakushika? An explanation of its characteristics, ecology, and habitat


What kind of animal is the Yakushima deer? We will explain its characteristics, ecology, and habitat. This deer is quite rare and can only be seen in Japan. Please be careful as the damage caused by Yakushima deer on Yakushima Island is becoming more serious and they are sometimes considered pests.

What is Yakushika? Basic Stats

Yaku Island Sika Deer is called Yaku Island Sika Deer in English, and its scientific name is Cervus nippon yakushimae. It is relatively small, with a body length of 70-80cm and a weight of 19-25kg. The list of information is as follows.

English(英名)Yaku Island Sika Deer
Yaku Is. Sika Deer
scientific name(学名)Phascolarctos cinereus
classification(分類)Mammalia、 Artiodactyla、Cervidae、Cervus


Yakushika are endemic to Japan. They only live on Yakushima and Kuchinoerabujima in Kagoshima Prefecture, so they can never be seen anywhere else.

What are its characteristics? What kind of creature is it?

Yakushika is a subspecies of Sika deer, and is the smallest of them all. Males have three antlers when mature. Yakushika have short limbs compared to their body size. It is said that they have become small because they have no predators. They tend to live in evergreen broadleaf forests, and their range of movement is small.

What is the ecology of Yakushika?

Yakushika eat fallen leaves, fallen fruits, seeds, etc. They may also eat plant leaves and mushrooms. They live for 10-20 years.

What are the natural enemies of Yakushika?

There are no significant natural enemies in Yakushika’s territory. On the contrary, past surveys have shown that they breed in places such as Shikoku and Kyushu, and sometimes cause damage to farmers without their knowledge. Looking at the data, there are many reports of large numbers of reports.

Are Yakushika endangered?

Yakushika are not endangered. In recent years, their population has increased, and they are over-breeding as a result of excessive feeding on understory vegetation and fallen leaves. Damage to crops caused by Yakushika has existed since the Edo period, and continues to this day. Damage to field crops and planted trees has occurred, and pest control began in 1978 as a countermeasure against the damage. In 2000, the Yakushika Working Group was established under the Yakushima World Heritage Site Regional Science Committee to take measures against the impact on the natural ecosystem. It has set out a direction to control the population.

Can Yakushika be kept as pets?

Yakushika have a very strong reproductive ability and can increase in numbers in an instant, so be careful. Recently, some organizations have begun research on management in forests and islands for protection.


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