Capreolus capreolus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Cervidae

Scientific Name: Capreolus capreolus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English European Roe Deer, European Roe, Roe Deer, Western Roe Deer
French Chevreuil, Chevreuil Européen
Spanish Corzo
Cervus capreolus Linnaeus, 1758
Taxonomic Notes: The taxonomy and systematics of the European Roe Deer have been based on morphological and genetic data. The following subspecies have been confirmed by molecular data (Lorenzini et al. 2002, Randi et al. 2004, Lorenzini and Lovari 2006); 1) C. c. italicus Festa, 1925; 2) C. c. garganta Meunier, 1983 (although whether this name may refer to the subspecies of Roe Deer in South Spain awaits confirmation cf. Lorenzini et al. 2014); 3) C. c. capreolus Linnaeus, 1758. The identification of C. c. caucasicus as the correct name for a large-sized subspecies north of the Caucasus Mountains is provisional (Sempéré et al. 1996, Lister et al. 1998). Animals in the Near East have been assigned to C. c. coxi (Harrison and Bates 1991).

Recent molecular studies have detected mitochondrial DNA haplotypes of Siberian Roe Deer in Poland and Lithuania, 2000 km farther west than the western limit of its modern distribution (Lorenzini et al. 2014, Matosiuk et al. 2014, Olano-Marin et al. 2014). Genetic analyses of European Roe deer in Poland suggests that Siberian haplotypes are of ancient origin (they were not detected within the modern range of Siberian Roe Deer) and that genetic introgression occurred as the range of Siberian Roe Deer expanded as far west as Central Europe, and European Roe Deer spread east from western refugia during the last glacial maximum (Lorenzini et al. 2014, Matosiuk et al. 2014). As well or instead of introgression into western Roe, it is possible that Siberian Roe had a more western distribution during the Late Peistocene and may even have gone undetected until today, coexisting with European Roe Deer, further evidence is needed to determine the taxonomic identity of the roes in these parts of Europe that bear Siberian-type mtDNA.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-07-19
Assessor(s): Lovari, S., Herrero, J., Masseti, M., Ambarli, H., Lorenzini, R. & Giannatos, G.
Reviewer(s): Brook, S.M. & McShea, W.J.
Contributor(s): Conroy, J., Maran, T., Stubbe, M., Aulagnier, S., Jdeidi, T., Nader, I., De Smet, K., Cuzin, F. & Giannakopoulos, A.
A widespread and common species with no major threats. It is listed as Least Concern. However, subspecies Capreolus capreolus italicus is rare (<10,000 mature individuals) and faces serious threats. C. c. coxi is probably also at risk in the Middle East.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Roe Deer has a large range in the Palaearctic. It is found through most of Europe (with the exception of Ireland, Cyprus, Corsica, Sardinia, and most of the smaller islands), including western Russia (Stubbe 1999). Outside Europe, it occurs in Turkey, northern Syria, northern Iraq, northern Iran, and the Caucasus (Wilson and Reeder 2005). Along the Black Sea coast and in the northern Aegean region of Turkey, the Mediterranean sub-populations are close to extinction. It is extinct in Israel and Lebanon (Wilson and Reeder 2005) (though a re-introduction programme has started in Israel (M. Masseti pers. comm.). It occurs from sea level up to 2,400 m asl in the Alps (von Lehmann and Sägesser 1986) and Pyrenees (González et al. 2013).

In southern Europe there are two subspecies with relatively restricted ranges. C. c. italicus occurs in central and southern Italy, between southern Tuscany, Latium and Puglia, to Calabria (Lorenzini et al. 2002, Randi et al. 2004, Lorenzini and Lovari 2006). C. c. garganta occurs in southern Iberia, in particular in Andalusia (Sierra de Cádiz) (Lorenzini et al. 2002, Lorenzini and Lovari 2006, Lorenzini et al. 2014).
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Andorra; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Gibraltar; Greece; Greenland; Hungary; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Italy; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Monaco; Montenegro; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation; San Marino; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Turkey; Ukraine; United Kingdom
Regionally extinct:
Israel; Lebanon; Palestinian Territory, Occupied
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2400
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It is widespread and common, and is expanding in many areas. Having almost gone extinct in parts of southern Europe because of habitat loss and over-harvesting in the first half of the last century, its numbers started increasing again 20-40 years ago because of countryside abandonment, improved hunting regimes and reintroductions (Gortázar et al. 2000). Densities in the northern and southern parts of the range tend to be lower than in the central parts of the range. The central European population is estimated to number c. 15 million individuals. However, the endemic Italian subspecies Capreolus c. italicus, which is largely restricted to southern Tuscany, probably numbers no more than 10,000 individuals and is at significant risk from hybridization with introduced C. c. capreolus (Lorenzini et al. 2002, Mucci et al. 2012), which has a large, expanding population in the Italian peninsula. In addition, a small population of C. c. capreolus has been introduced to and kept in an enclosure in Nebrodi National Park on Sicily (Masseti 2011).

In Turkey, the population is estimated at 6,000-8,000 individuals and has been probably increasing in the Black Sea region for two decades due to rural population declines (H. Ambarli pers. comm.).
Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:15000000
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It occupies a wide variety of habitats, including deciduous, mixed or coniferous forests, moorland, pastures, arable land, and suburban areas with large gardens. It prefers landscapes with a mosaic of woodland and farmland (Stubbe 1999) but can survive in semi-desert environments and above the tree line seasonally. Roe Deer are well adapted to modern agricultural landscapes (Andersen et al. 1998, Danilkin 1996, Sempéré et al. 1996).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: With the exception of some small populations in the southern part of its range, the extensive hunting of this species is sustainable.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threat in Europe is the increased mixing of various genetic pools as a result of translocations. This may be a particular threat to genetically distinct peripheral populations, such as those in northern Portugal, the southern Italian Apennines, and Greece (Randi et al. 2004, Lorenzini and Lovari 2006). Molecular studies show that Roe Deer in central and southern Europe are mainly admixed (Lorenzini et al. 2002, Randi et al. 2004), indicating that human manipulation has greatly affected the natural genetic structure of populations. The small isolated populations of Capreolus c. italicus in central and southern Italy (Castelporziano, Rome, and Gargano National Park) are also threatened by poaching and predation by free-ranging dogs Canis familiaris (Lorenzini et al. 2002). The small remnant population in Syria is under severe threat from habitat reduction and human persecution (Masseti 2000). Illegal hunting, poaching, collisions with vehicles mainly in the western Black Sea Region, and predation by dogs, are the main threats to the species in Turkey.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is listed on the Bern Convention (Appendix III), and occurs in a large number of protected areas across its range. In general, this species can quickly re-build its numbers and may tolerate a relatively high hunting pressure, if in a suitable habitat and under an appropriate hunting regime. Management operations, such as re-introductions, restocking and translocations, have been carried out widely across its range, and should always be carried out using the appropriate genotypes.

To protect remnant populations of the Italian Roe Deer Capreolus c. italicus, Lorenzini et al. (2002) and Mucci et al. 2012 recommended the following measures: (1) Identify and map the extant populations of Italian Roe Deer, with indications of their genetic purity through reliable molecular protocols, (3) Prohibit translocations of Roe Deer from northern stocks to central and southern Italy, and vice versa, (4) Facilitate the expansion of remaining populations through habitat improvements, and (5) Establish a re-introduction plan for southern Italy, where uncontaminated and isolated areas are identified to prevent introgressive hybridization with the European subspecies. Similar actions are recommended to protect genetically distinct peripheral populations in Portugal and Greece (Lorenzini and Lovari 2006). In general, any translocations of Roe Deer should respect the genetic integrity of populations at the destination site.

Roe Deer have been re-introduced into the wild in Israel in the Ramat Hanadiv park on Mount Carmel near Zichron Yaacov. The first release of six females and two males took place in February 1997, a second release of a male and a female took place in March 1998, and a third release of four animals was completed in 1999. Pending information on the success of this project, this re-introduction is not yet marked on the distribution map.

Citation: Lovari, S., Herrero, J., Masseti, M., Ambarli, H., Lorenzini, R. & Giannatos, G. 2016. Capreolus capreolus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T42395A22161386. . Downloaded on 20 September 2018.
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