The Yezo sika deer is one of the many subspecies of the sika deer. The sika that inhabit the island of Hokkaido are indigenous, although it is not known whether they originated there or migrated from the main island of Japan. It is thought that they may have traveled across the strait between the islands. Genetic study has shown that the separation of the sika population occurred less than half a million years ago. It is possible that northern sika deer may be more closely related to yezo sika deer than to other sika deer. The indigenous Ainu people of Hokkaido have hunted them for centuries and relied on them as a major food source.
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