At the border of the provinces of Sondrio, Como and Lecco, just north the lake of Como, there is the Protected area “Pian di Spagna-lago di Mezzola”, rich in wetlands, plants and wild animals. Among the latter, besides the birds that characterize it, the area includes a large number of deer, for several years. Years ago the deer used to shelter from the hunters entering the protected area from the overlying woods in autum-winter, returning to the mountain in spring.
For some years, however, the deer find it safer and easier (in terms of food procurement) to remain in the protected area all year long, particularly in the northern part of the area, close to the lake of Novate Mezzola, hiding in the thick reeds during the day, and grazing outside at night.
In a survey of our department we registered densities of 14-30 heads/km2, among the highest ever found. The study made it clear that deer love maize and that the crop must be fence-protected to avoid heavy losses for the farmers (see picture).
Corgatelli G., Mattiello S., Colombini S., Crovetto G. M. (2019) Impact of red deer (Cervus elaphus) on forage crops in a protected area. Agricultural Systems, 169: 41-48. Doi: 10.1016/j.agsy.2018.11.009.