No difference in antler asymmetries between two captive Maral deer populations
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The objective of this study was to investigate asymmetry in antlers of Caspian Red Deer or maral (Cervus elaphus sibiricus) from two different genetic origins and maintained under similar conditions. Eighteen male Caspian Red Deer aged 24 months were studied. Nine animals belonged to the local Kazakh population and nine were directly imported Russian deer. The following data were obtained for right and left antlers: wet weight, stem length and circle and 1st, 2nd and 3rd shoot lengths. To obtain the values of antler asymmetries we used the absolute differences between the value of each trait on left and right sides. According to values of asymmetries obtained, the two populations neither showed differences from each other nor exhibited consistent directional trends in mean measures. Therefore, it could be concluded that Russian marals have adapted well to environmental conditions, presenting no different levels of environmental stress in relation to local Kazakh ones.