A first nucleus of 20 individuals of Italian deer (Cervus elaphus italicus), an autochthonous subspecies of our peninsula, decimated in the last centuries and survived only in the Mesola wood, was released in a protected area of Calabria, the Serre regional park. , in the province of Ferrara, former hunting reserve of the Estensi.
In March, after the delicate capture operations, the animals were safely transferred over a thousand kilometers away, in the Serre Regional Natural Park.
Translocated individuals are monitored through the use of satellite collars, which allow the verification of movements, survival and reproduction rates, and any causes of mortality.
The Operation provides for the capture and release in the new identified area of at least 20 individuals per year, for three years (2023, 2024 and 2025).
Operation Cervo Italico was carried out thanks to the joint effort of the Carabinieri Forestali, the Bosco della Mesola Nature Reserve, the Serre Regional Natural Park, the University of Siena, WWF Italia, the faunal study body Dream Italia, the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute of Lazio and Tuscany and the University of Bologna.
The mission is to save a completely unique subspecies from extinction, the Cervus elaphus italicus: all the deer present in the rest of the peninsula are European deer (Cervus elaphus hippelaphus), introduced in Italy after the Second World War and today in progressive expansion .
The "Bosco della Mesola" State Nature Reserve, in the province of Ferrara, has preserved the last 300 specimens of Italian deer to date.
But these, in conditions of genetic isolation, have an uncertain future, due to the risk of consanguinity, modifications of the habitat or epidemics.