Liver samples from 422 wild moose (Alces alces), 280 roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), and 73 reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) collected by hunters in various localities in Norway, 2002–2003, were analyzed for the essential trace elements cobalt, copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), molybdenum, selenium (Se), and zinc. Significant differences in hepatic concentrations among species were found for all elements except for Mn, and considerable individual and geographic variations were seen. Roe deer had statistically significant lower Se levels (median: 0.51 μg Se/g dry weight) than did moose (0.77 μg Se/g) and reindeer (0.85 μg Se/g). Moose from two coastal municipalities with high precipitation had considerably higher Se concentrations than those from the other localities studied. Seventy-nine roe deer (28%) and 36 moose (9%) had Se concentrations below that regarded as deficient in domestic ruminants. The Se status in roe deer was lower than previously reported in Europe. Moose had a significantly higher Cu (222 μg Cu/g dw) than did roe deer (112 μg Cu/g) and reindeer (105 μg Cu/g). The Cu status of moose and roe deer in Norway are among the highest reported in Europe. However, a suboptimal Se and Cu status was found in moose from Tvedestrand, a population which has suffered from a reduced condition and productivity. The variability in trace element status among hunted cervids, with no apparent signs of deficiency or toxicity, probably reflects adaptations in these wild ruminant species to cope with this. However, subtle clinical signs and lesions are difficult to detect and further research is needed.

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