ISSN : 2765-2203
The Yezo sika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis) is a subspecies of sika deer originated from Hokkaido, Japan. This paper is a study on the ecological impact caused by large mammals invading the ecosystem. Two pairs of deer were donated to the Agency for Defense Development in Taean in the late 1980s, and the population expanded to over 280 in 2018. The thermal imaging camera showed that the population ranged from 8 to 53 herds, divided into approximately 10 groups. It was confirmed that some of the herds had escaped the management area and invaded the nearby natural ecosystem, causing damage to cultivated land and natural vegetation. Herds of over 50 individuals have been studied in large grassland areas near drinking water sources such as streams and ponds. In places with excessive deer concentration, 1) feeding damage to herbs, shrubs and sub-trees, 2) tree withering due to antler-rubbing, and their habit of migrating along forest edges 3) excessive soil loss on slopes, 4) destruction of herbaceous layers due to compaction, and finally 5) damage to infrastructure were also investigated. As such, it is expected that the results of this study on the ecological and economic damage of Yezo sika deer can be used to predict the impact of other exotic sika deer in South Korea with similar behavioral characteristics and to establish a management plan.