Originally introduced to Brownsea Island in the centre of Poole Harbour during the1860’s for some unknown reason it didn’t occur to anybody that most types of Deer are actually quite good at swimming. Sika are no different and faced with a choice just a few years after their introduction of burning to death in a forest fire or taking a swim they took the obvious course of action. Assuming they waited until low tide the harbour is so shallow it’s likely they didn’t even need to swim!

The Sika are actually doing very well along the entire Arne peninsula with their numbers increasing by 10% per year. With no natural predators their numbers are carefully controlled by culling during the winter months.

During the daytime they’re easiest to see grazing on the marshes however at dawn and dusk they can be seen almost anywhere. In addition to Sika there are also a few Roe Deer around. These tend to prefer areas of longer grass and the woodland edges.

Rutting begins in September and is best viewed at dawn (before the dog walkers arrive).

 Sika Stag
Sika Stag on Grip Heath  – when he started stamping his feet and tossing bits of vegetation onto his antlers I decided it was time to move on.
Sika female
Sika Doe in summer coat, the darker one in the background has moulted into the winter coat
Eye to Eye
 Rutting Sika
Rutting Stags at dawn
 Sika Doe
Is she impressed ?

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