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Wapiti (Elk)

Cervus elaphus

This handsome deer is known by many names. “Wapiti” is one. Wapimeans “white” in some native Algonquian languages, which may refer to the deer’s large white rump patch. The species also lives in Eurasia, where it is typically called red deer. The North American version is bigger than the Eurasian one, with a bigger rump patch, too.

This deer is also known as elk in North America. Complicating matters further, “elk” is what Europeans use for moose in their land. As the story goes, early British settlers in North America mistook one deer for the other, even though the resemblance is slim. “Elk” has stuck ever since.

American Museum of Natural History

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