Note the many differences in the two stags shown. When working on live capture and shooting from the machines out of Taupo we became aware that there was a very noticeable difference in sika, both hinds and stags that came from different areas. Now the original group of sika liberated on Merrilees Clearing came from a English deer park and contained blood from two strains of sika, Nippon and Manchurian. It is I think probable that several stags containing the distinctive genes of each type marched away into the wilderness and the herds developed in distinctively different ways.
The top stag we would have described as distinctively Nippon the bottom one Manchurius. The photographers brother when he became a taxidermist had separate moulds for these heads. I think this only became obvious to the pilots and shooters because we covered so much country and saw many different sika in a day. The manager of Wainui Deer farm where we took most of our deer to would ask where they had been caught. He knew his sika too well and he would scoff at our lies when we told him where they came from. The Sika that came out of Fletchers Forests were as different from the Kaimanawa ones that they might have well been another species.