As only just mentioned, the wolf (Canis lupus) is given a place of primarily importance. Since 1991, a research aiming at checking and evaluating the number of wolf populations and their importance in the eco-system of the three areas of the National Park is taking place. The presence of the wolf has been estimated at some dozens of specimens and, after the causes of the population decrease occurred in the 70-80s have been ensured, the environment redevelopment plans are going to be outlined, in order to rebuild the true links of the food chain and thus steady the fauna presences.
The wolf (picture) has always been hunted by shepherds because of the losses it caused to the domestic livestock. The attacks to herds and flocks is explained by the gradual extinction, during the present century, of the main wild preys of the carnivore: the deer and the roe.
In order to re-establish the natural balance and reduce the danger coming from the contact between wolves, domestic livestock and (indirectly) men, in the 70s the National Park headmaster’s office gave rise to a process of peopling of the roe and, in 1989, of reintroduction of the deer in the Silan areas. The present situation is certainly favourable for these two famous ungulates. From the fauna “Golia S. Michele” Agency, in Sila Grande, the roe has been set free and it is today spread all over the Silan plateau. Its presence is not found in Aspromonte where the uneven lands make grazing uncomfortable.
The deer (picture) will be set free as soon as their presence inside the acclimatization area will be enough to cover the numerical requirements into the free areas. Even in this case, the project will not involve Aspromonte, which is unsuitable for this species.
The situation reverses when the wild boar is taking into account. This famous mammal lives in the south area of the National Park, where it finds its ideal environment in the steep valleys rich in chestnut trees and oaks, in Sila Piccola and occasionally in Sila Grande where the wood vegetation, made up of forest trees (particularly larch pines), doesn’t offer a good shelter and suitable food. Small carnivores are found in large amount, living in Aspromonte and Sila as well.
Together with the wild cat, there are the badger, the fox, the beech-marten, the polecat, the weasel and the marten which is the worst enemy of another nice guest of the Park: the squirrel (picture). The species living in the National Park, and in general in the south of Italy, is different from the one known in the rest of Italy and Europe. It is characterized by black fur and white-bellied and the size of its body and tail is larger than the one of the other species. In the local idiom, it is known as “zaccanella” o “zaccanedda” because of its liveliness.
Other rodents living in the National Park are the dormouse, the garden-dormouse, the fieldmouse, the shrew and the dryomys. The latter is extremely rare and it is spread only in some areas of Sila Grande, Aspromonte and Pollino. It is similar to dormouse, sharing with it the same habits, but it is smaller and differs from the dormouse for its black fur, and from the garden-dormouse for its hairy tail having a uniform colour.