The deer

A typically forest-dwelling species, it prefers normal forests or coppice forests, interspersed with clearings, crops and fields; it is not fond of snow or steep rocky slopes.
It is the largest ruminant herbivore present in Italy, it is 180-250 cm long with a height at the withers of 95-135 cm. Its weight varies from 160-210 kg for males and 90-130 kg for females. Its antlers, present only in males, are shed, every year, in spring, first by the older males (February-March) and then by the younger ones (May) and grow back by July It consumes large quantities of grass, often mixed with tree and shrub leaves, conifer and non-conifer branches and bark during the winter season. It consumes on average 10-15 kg of vegetation every day and is also known to eat acorns, chestnuts and beech nuts.
The deer came to the park mainly from re-introduction in the lower Val d'Aosta in the 1980's. Some of them moved southwards, to colonize the Soana valley. Today it is present in the park mostly in this valley and, to a lesser extent, in Orco Valley. In spring 2002 a large-scale project was begun to reintroduce the species to the unprotected sides of the Orco e Soana valleys. This intensive re-introduction, with animals coming from France, will soon have an effect on the expansion of the deer in the park.

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