elk a name which is applied to some members of the deer family, Cervidae, but with a certain inconsistency between European and American usage. The European elk, Alces alces, is found in forests and marshes of N. Europe and Asia. It is a large animal but smaller than the animal known as elk in N. America, Cervus canadensis, which stands over 1.5 m (5') at the shoulder.
The American elk is one of the large deer which may also be called wapiti; the name is used of C. elephus or its subspecies in Asia. However, there is some doubt about the taxonomy; for example, it seems that the ‘tian shan wapiti’, one of the Asian ones, is almost exactly like the American one.