The Roosevelt elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti), also known as Olympic elk, is the largest of the four surviving subspecies of elk in North America. Their range includes temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, extends to parts of northern California, and they were introduced to Kodiak, Alaska's Afognak and Raspberry Islands in 1928. The desire to protect the elk was one of the primary forces behind the establishment of the Mount Olympus National Monument in 1909 by President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt. Later in 1937 President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited the region and named the elk after his relative "Teddy". The following year he created Olympic National Park.
|Male (bull) at Northwest Trek, Washington, US|
|Female at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California, US|
C. c. roosevelti
|Cervus canadensis roosevelti|
Adults grow to around 6–10 ft (1.8–3 m) in length and stand 2.5–5.6 ft (0.75–1.7 m) tall at the wither. Elk bulls generally weigh between 700 and 1100 lb (300–500 kg), while cows weigh 575–625 lb (260–285 kg). Some mature bulls from Raspberry Island in Alaska have weighed nearly 1300 lb (600 kg).
From late spring to early fall, Roosevelt elk feed on herbaceous plants, such as grasses and sedges. During winter months, they feed on woody plants, including highbush cranberry, elderberry, devil's club, and newly planted seedlings (Douglas-fir and western redcedar). Roosevelt elk are also known to eat blueberries, mushrooms, lichens, and salmonberries.
In the wild, Roosevelt elk rarely live beyond 12 to 15 years, but in captivity have been known to live over 25 years.
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- Robb, Bob (January 2001). The Ultimate Guide to Elk Hunting. The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-58574-180-9.
- Nancy Gates, ed. (November 2006). The Alaska Almanac: Facts about Alaska 30th Anniversary Edition. Alaska Northwest Books. ISBN 0-88240-652-3.
- Rennick, Penny (November 1996). Mammals of Alaska. Alaska Geographic Society. ISBN 1-56661-034-6.
- Houston, Douglas; Jenkins, Kurt. "Roosevelt Elk Ecology". Retrieved 2007-12-28.
- Anthony Alan Arsenault, 2008, "Saskatchewan Elk (Cervus elaphus) Management Plan - Update", p.2: "1.1.2 - Physical Description", Fish and Wildlife Technical Report 2008-03, Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, Fish, and Wildlife Branch