Capreolus pygargus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Cervidae

Scientific Name: Capreolus pygargus Pallas, 1771
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Siberian Roe Deer, Eastern Roe Deer, Siberian Roe
French Chevreuil de Siberie
Spanish Corzo Siberiano
Capreolus bedfordi Thomas, 1908
Capreolus capreolus ssp. ochracea Barclay, 1935
Capreolus melanotis Miller, 1911
Capreolus pygargus var. caucasica Dinnik, 1910
Capreolus pygargus var. ferganicus Rasewig, 1909
Capreolus tianschanicus Saturnin, 1906
Cervus pygargus Pallas, 1771
Taxonomic Notes: This taxon was formerly considered a subspecies-group of the European Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus. However, it is now regarded as a species distinct from C. capreolus (Sokolov et al. 1985, Sokolov and Gromov 1990, Randi et al. 1998, Hewison and Danilkin, 2001, Lorenzini et al. 2014 ). It was reviewed by Danilkin (1995).Three subspecies are typically recognized: C. pygargus pygargus Pallas, 1771 (main part of the distribution area), C. p. tianschanicus Saturnin, 1906 (southern part of the range in China) and C. p. bedfordi Thomas, 1908 (eastern part of the range). However, recent phylogenetic analyses could bring into question the existence of these subspecies, Lorenzini et al. (2014) found no relationship between mitochondrial genetic lineages and geographic distribution, and no particular haplogroups corresponding to the proposed subspecies were detected. Further research incorporating nuclear DNA is required to resolve the taxonomy of this group.

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 suggest 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: 2015-08-06
Assessor(s): Lovari, S., Masseti, M. & Lorenzini, R.
Reviewer(s): Brook, S.M. & McShea, W.J.
Contributor(s): Gonzalez, T. & Tsytsulina, K.
Although the species is widespread and remains common in parts of its range (Danilkin 1995, Danilkin et al. 2000, Korytin et al. 2002), it is in decline in many places due to insufficient enforcement of the currently existing laws regarding hunting. However, its rate of decline is not believed to be sufficient to trigger listing in a more threatened category, and so it is retained in Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Siberian Roe Deer has a very wide distribution in the Palaearctic. It is widely distributed in continental Asia and parts of Eastern Europe (Danilkin 1995), from the Khoper and Don River bend to the Ural Mountains and across southern Siberia.
It is found through northern Mongolia (including Navchvandan Mountain in south-eastern parts of Eastern Mongolia, Hangai Mountain Range, Darkhad in Hövsgöl Mountain Range, Hentii Mountain Range, Ikh Hyangan Mountain Range and north-eastern Mongol Altai Mountain Range) east to the coastlines of the sea of Japan, and the Yellow Sea, including the Korean Peninsula (Danilkin 1995). Its geographic range branches out towards the south at the West Siberian Plain down to Lake Balkhash, and from there expanding back to the east well into Kazakhstan without reaching the Aral Sea. Also, it occurs from Manchuria into northern and central China, to the western half of the left margin of the Yang Tze river, into the eastern Tibetan Region (Bannikov 1954, Sokolov et al. 1982, Dulamtseren et al. 1989). Records from further south as far as northeastern Myanmar require confirmation. It formerly extended as far west and eastern Ukraine, and there is still an isolated population on the northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains. It also occurs on Cheju Island in the Republic of Korea. It has been recorded at altitudes from sea-level up to 3,300 m asl. Recent analysis of mitochondrial DNA shows evidence of this species in the ancestry of roe populations in Lithuania and Poland, well west of the morphologically defined range, determining the appropriate taxonomic treatment requires further investigation (notably on morphology of such animals) (see Taxonomic Notes).
Countries occurrence:
China (Gansu, Shanxi); Kazakhstan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Mongolia; Russian Federation
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):3300
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Although it is generally considered to be common, it is in decline in many places because of over-hunting. Danilkin (1995) estimated the total world population to be "about 1 million" individuals, though this represents a considerable decline, as during the nineteenth century, 500,000 were killed annually in Russia. Nevertheless, in the 1990s, healthy populations appeared to be common in China and Russia (Danilkin 1995, Otaishi and Gao 1990). Ohtaishi and Sheng (1993) estimated the total population living in China at the time in "about 500,000" individuals.

The species has almost certainly declined since then due to hunting (see Danilkin 1995). For example, in the Amur region of Russia, the population was estimated to be 134,870 individuals in 1991, but it has been in continuous decline since then due to unauthorized hunting and fires (Toushkin 2007). In 2011, the total population of C. pygargus from 10 federal regions of Siberia was estimated at 326,825 individuals (Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources 2012).

The situation could be more even more negative in the Korean Peninsula where trapping, overhunting and the opening of new land to logging operations may be having a negative effect on the species (Won and Smith 1999), in the small areas of DPR Korea for which recent information is available, it is extirpated or very rare even within extensive suitable habitat, such as the Myohyang range (J. W. Duckworth pers. comm. 2015, based on observations during 1999–2004). In 1985, the population size throughout Mongolia was estimated as between 70,000 and 89,000, though in the same year density estimates of 4-5 individuals over 1,000 ha were made in Khovsgol, with a total population estimate for this region of 250,000 animals (Sukhbat and Shagdarjav 1990). Over the last 10 years, however, the species has largely disappeared from the Bogd Uul mountain region, with only possible sightings in 2004. In the most recent population estimate conducted was in the Nomrog Special Protected Area, where 298 were found (K. Olson pers. comm.). No data seem to be currently available on the status of this species in Kazakhstan.

Population density in Russia depends on vegetation type. It is most abundant in light oak and coniferous forests,  and is not found in fir forests. In the Sikhote-Alin State Reserve, population density varies from 0.2 to 1.3 individuals per km² (Myslenkov 1990).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species inhabits different types of deciduous and mixed forests and forest-steppes, where it tends to exploit areas with an abundance of grass cover on which it grazes (Danilkin 1995). In general terms it is most common in the forest-steppe belt of central Russia (Danilkin et al. 2000, Korytin et al. 2002), where it reaches high population densities of up to 12 individuals per 100 ha in tallgrass meadows and floodplains (Danilkin 1995). It is shy, and most active at night, and often uses salt-licks. In mountains it is found up to 3,300 m asl.

It makes seasonal movements in some areas. It is solitary in summer (females stay with their young), but in winter forms mixed groups up to 20-30 individuals. During seasonal movements, group size increases up to 500 individuals. In the province of Amur (Russian Federation), the species migrates every year from winter to summer grounds, for up to 200 km, always following the same routes (Danilkin et al. 1995).

During heat males are territorial. It is weakly polygynous, and does not form harems. Mating occurs from mid-July to mid-September. Young are born in May-June, the females give birth to one or two calves (rarely up to four). Gestation is six to ten months, usually with a lag phase of about four months (i.e. delayed implantation: the embryo (blastocyst) does not immediately implant in the uterus, but is maintained in a state of dormancy, Danilkin 1996). Maturity is reached by 13 months, and adults live 10-12 years (Danilkin 1995).
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: It is highly regarded as a source of venison, pelts, and game trophies in the Russian Federation and China (Ohtaishi and Gao 1990, Danilkin et al. 2000, Korytin et al. 2002).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Illegal hunting for meat and antlers, largely for local use, has eradicated this species from many areas of Russia. In the past, the implementation of proactive law enforcement and successful re-introduction programmes corrected this (Danilkin 1995). Recent data suggest that poaching is again on the rise in Russia and Kazakhstan, though there is currently only limited information on its effects on the populations of Capreolus pygargus. It is of particular concern in relation to the isolated population in the Cis-Caucasus. Poaching is also known to be a serious problem in China. The status of the species on the Korean Peninsula is also problematic, as deforestation and poaching might be depleting numbers in many areas of the south and are very likely to be doing so in the north and centre (Won and Smith 1999). Although not presently a threat through much of its Russian range, habitat degradation through grazing by increasing numbers of livestock and human disturbance, associated with resource extraction, could constitute a potential future threat.

Severe winter weather and natural predation are liable to have at times a strong impact on the survival or presence of some populations in certain regions (Danilkin 1995, Danilkin et al. 2000), though this is not a major concern for the species overall.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Russia has an extensive network of protected areas in the form of National Natural Parks, Special Purpose Reserves, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Nature Monuments and the Siberian roe deer is an abundant species in many of them (Danilkin et al. 2000, Korytin et al. 2002). Trophy and commercial hunting are allowed in some of these areas under a license system, the allocation of harvesting quotas is based on periodic estimates of the population size of each species (Danilkin et al. 2000, Korytin et al. 2002). Under this system 27,300 individuals were legally harvested within the whole Russian territory, during the 1996-1997 hunting season (National CBD Reports 1997). However, the amount of illegal hunting beyond this is not known, but could be much larger. More effective management of hunting is needed. The majority of the isolated Cis-Caucasian population inhabits protected areas.

A similar hunting management system exists in China, it has been reported that several thousand roe deer are commercially harvested in Heilongjiang Province every year (Ohtaishi and Gao 1990). Mongolia has a similar network of protected areas compared to Russia, covering 20.6 millions of hectares, or more than 13% of the Mongolian territory. Roe deer is present in many of them (Ministry for Nature and Environment 1996). In Mongolia, hunting is permitted between September 1st and December 1st (MNE 2005). Trophy hunters can purchase hunting licenses, from which $550 USD is allocated to the government (MNE 2005). Enforcement of wildlife protection laws, inside and outside protected areas, is nonetheless deficient.

In Republic of Korea, this species is abundant only in strictly protected areas like Halla-san National Park, Cheju Island (Won and Smith 1999). Roe deer is classed as a game species under the current hunting laws, and licensed hunters are allowed to bag a maximum of three individuals per hunting season. The long term effects that the Wildlife Protection Act (in effect from February 2005) will have on the conservation status of this species needs to be monitored.

In summary, the main conservation measures needed involve:
(1) Effective enforcement of hunting regulations. (2) Maintenance of suitable habitats, especially in riparian areas.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.1. Forest - Boreal
1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.3. Shrubland - Boreal
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
4. Grassland -> 4.4. Grassland - Temperate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.2. Trade management
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Yes
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.2. Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Future    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.11. Dams (size unknown)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.3. Harvest & Trade Management Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Bannikov, A.G. 1954. Mammals of the Mongolian People’s Republic. Nauka, Moscow, Russia.

Danilkin, A. 1996. Behavioural Ecology of Siberian and European Roe Deer. Chapman and Hall, London, UK.

Danilkin, A. A. 1995. Capreolus pygargus. Mammalian Species 512: 1-7.

Danilkin, A. A., Darman, Y. A., Minaev, A. N. and Sempere, A. 1995. Social structure, behavior, and ecological parameters of a migrating roe deer (Capreolus pygargus Pall.) population. Izvestiya Akademii Nauk, Seriya Biologicheskaya 105(1): 48-61.

Danilkin, A. A., Sempere, A., Petrosian, V. G., Semenova, S. K. and Ryskov, A. P. 2000. Variability of multilocus DNA markers in populations of the Siberian (Capreolus pygargus Pall.) and European (C. capreolus L.) roe deer. Genetika 36(11): 1520-1530.

Dulamtseren, S., Tsendjav, D. and Avirmed, D. 1989. Mammals of Mongolia. Publishing House of the Academy of Science, Ulaanbaatar.

Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources. 2012. Summary on the activities of public authorities of subjects of the Russian Federation in the Siberian Federal District, exercising the powers transferred to the Russian Federation in the field of wildlife conservation. Department of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources of the Siberian Fededal District, Novosibirsk.

Hewison, A. J. M. and Danilkin, A. 2001. Evidence for separate specific status of European (Capreolus capreolus) and Siberian (C. pygargus) roe deer. Mammalian Biology 66(1): 13-21.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-1. Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2016).

Korytin, N. S., Bol'shakov, V. N., Markov, N. I. and Pogodin, N. L. 2002. The state of populations and selective hunting of game ungulates in the Middle Urals. Russian Journal of Ecology 33(3): 178-185.

Lorenzini, R., Garofalo, L. Qin, X., Voloshina, I. and Lovari, S. 2014. Global phylogeography of the genus Capreolus (Artiodactyla: Cervidae), a Palaearctic meso-mamma. Zoological Journal of Linnean Society 170: 209-221.

Matosiuk, M. Borkowska, A., Świsłocka, M., Mirski, P., Borowski, Z., Krysiuk, K., Danilkin, A.A., Zvychaynaya, E.Y., Saveljev, A.P. and Ratkiewicz, M. 2014. Unexpected population genetic structure of European roe deer in Poland: an invasion of the mtDNA genome from Siberian roe deer. Molecular Ecology 23: 2559-2572.

Ministry of Nature and Environment. 1996. Biodiversity Conservation Action Plan for Mongolia. Ministry of Nature and Environment, Ulaanbaatar.

Ministry of Nature and Environment. 2005. Manual for Foreign Hunters and Fishers. Ministry of Nature and Environment. State Inspection Agency and German Technical Cooperation, Ulaanbaatar.

Myslenkov, A. I. 1990. Structure of population of ungulates in Sikhote-Alin State Reserve. Fifth Session of Therilogical Society of SSSR: 289-290. Moscow, Russia.

National CBD Reports. 1997. The First National Report of Russian Federation. Biodiversity conservation in Russia. Moskow.

Ohtaishi, N. and Gao, Y.T. 1990. A review of the distribution of all species of deer (Tragulidae, Moschidae and Cervidae) in China. Mammal Review 20(2-3): 125-144.

Ohtaishi, N. and Sheng, HI (eds). 1993. Deer in China. Biology and Management, Elsevier, London, UK and New York, USA.

Olano-Marin, J., Plis, K., Sönnichsen, L., Borowik, T., Niedziałkowska, M. and Jędrzejewska, B. 2014. Weak population structure in European Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) and evidence of introgressive hybridization with Siberian Roe Deer (C. pygargus) in Northeastern Poland. PLoS ONE 9(10): e109147.

Randi, E., Pierpaoli, M. and Danilkin, A. 1998. Mitochondrial DNA polymorphism in populations of Siberian and European roe deer (Capreolus pygargus and C. capreolus). Heredity 80: 429-437.

Sokolov, V. E. and Gromov, V. S. 1990. The contemporary ideas on roe deer (Capreolus Gray, 1821) systematization: morphological, ethological and hybridological analysis. Mammalia 54: 431-444.

Sokolov, V. E., Danilkin, A. A. and Dulamtseren, S. 1982. Contemporary Distribution and Populations of the Forest Ungulates in Mongolia. Zoological Studies in the People's Republic of Mongolia 8: 37-56.

Sokolov, V. E., Markov, G. G., Danilkin, A. A., Nikolov, K. M. and Gerasimov, S. 1985. Species status of the European (Capreolus capreolus) and Siberian (C. pygargus) roe deer (craniometric investigations). Doklady Biological Sciences 280: 90-94.

Sukhbat, Kh. and Shagdarjav, D. 1990. Game Hunting. Publishing House of the Mongolian Academy of Science, Ulaanbaatar.

Toushkin, A. A. 2007. Peculiarities of ecology and biology in Siberian roe deer (Capreolus pygargus Pall) in Amur Region. Abstract of PhD dissertation.

Won, C.M. and Smith, K.G. 1999. History and current status of mammals of the Korean Peninsula. Mammal Review 29(1): 3-36.

Citation: Lovari, S., Masseti, M. & Lorenzini, R. 2016. Capreolus pygargus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T42396A22161884. . Downloaded on 19 June 2018.
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