Current distribution and habitat preferences of red deer and Eurasian elk in the Czech Republic
Here we determine the distribution, numbers and habitat preferences of two of the largest species in the family Cervidae present in the Czech Republic, red deer and Eurasian elk. Red deer occurs predominantly in vast areas of forest, i.e. mainly in the mountains bordering this country and several large forest units in the interior. The range of this species has been increasing along with the size of its population. Areas of its permanent occurrence may be generally characterized as regions largely covered with deciduous and coniferous forests and pastures, and regions with a more diverse landscape. Red deer does not occur in areas that are mainly arable or urban, or in areas covered with extensive water bodies and wetlands. As these animals prefer large forests, they occur mainly at high altitudes where the terrain is rugged. The Eurasian elk permanently occurs in the Czech Republic in a single area located between the state border and the right bank of the Lipno Dam. Its home range has been diminishing, presumably along with its numbers. The area of its permanent occurrence is characterized by an abundance of coniferous trees, some pastures and water bodies. The Eurasian elk does not occur in areas covered with arable and urban land but also surprisingly in areas with mainly deciduous forest. Both species prefer high altitudes, but Eurasian elk prefers areas with little difference in the terrain vertically.
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