Apollonio, Marco (2004) Gli Ungulati in Italia: status, gestione e ricerca scientifica. Hystrix, the Italian Journal of Mammalogy, Vol. 15 (1), p. 21-34. eISSN 1825-5272. Article.
Ungulates in Italy: status, management and scientific research. Ungulates in Italy have experienced in the last decade a further increase of their distribution and, possibly, consistence. This trend has been very obvious in the central and northern part of Italy, on the contrary, in south Italy the increase of ungulates populations is quite slow if any. A partial exception is Sardinia where Sardinian red deer (Cervus elaphus corsicanus) has been reintroduced into the four provinces of the island. In this frame the relevance of the increase of ungulates for the increase of wolves (Canis lupus) in Italy must be emphasized. Ungulates management has also experienced a general development in the last decade, even if deep differences between south and central-north Italy still persist. Well conducted reintroductions have allowed to fill many gaps in the species distribution. Ungulates hunting bags size, suggest an increased importance of ungulates in the hunting activities in Italy. Selective hunting with rifles on cervids and bovids was established in wide areas of north and central Italy, mainly as consequence of roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) widespread presence. Wild boar (Sus scrofa) hunting still represents a problem for ungulate management in Italy. Almost 50% of the provinces where wild boar is hunted does not collect hunting bag statistics, and only 35% of them try to roughly estimate the consistence of the populations. The traditional dogs hunting of wild boar has expanded to areas where wild boar was recently and illegally reintroduced, as south Italy and the Alps region, and this is a serious problem for the development of a more rational and correct hunting practices. New possibilities of hunting management of red deer in central Italy, and in the future of alpine ibex (Capra ibex), are to be considered. An increase of the presence of trained wildlife managers in public administrations is suggested, as a further step in the development of a proper management of ungulates and other wildlife. Scientific research on ungulates in Italy was, in the last decade, quite uneven both in the species and in the disciplines chosen. There is a clear opportunistic approach to subjects, that often has no link with the real necessities of wildlife management. The development of long term studies is suggested, together with a more efficient coordination among scientist in the choice of the research subjects. Last but not least a more efficient founding mechanisms is needed in order to avoid money waste and to promote serious research programmes.
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