Because of the abundant snowfalls that have whitened the mountains in recent days, many animals have descended to low altitudes in search of food. In particular, the ungulates, deer, roe deer and chamois got even closer than usual to the inhabited centers and the roads.
Winter is a very complicated season in the Alps for wild animals. The food available is scarce and of poor quality. They eat bark, bits of dry branches, whatever they can find. The low temperatures require more energy to maintain the right body heat. The presence of snow, especially if high and persistent, implies a lot of effort in the movements. All this makes this season difficult for wild animals, who find themselves having to face it with their own strength to overcome it at best. They often get together because in that way it is easier digging in the snow.
The descent to lower altitude, however, also allows many people to see these animals easily. While it may be nice to admire a deer or a roe deer, on the other hand, it is of fundamental importance that people pay attention and keep their distance from those areas where ungulates gather, especially places of foraging. The animals are already exposed to high physical stress. Being scared would also compromise their health further. The Stelvio National Park has published a list of good practice for respecting animals in winter.
• Stay on the marked trails, preferring open areas and staying away from the edges of the forest;
• Do not follow the tracks of the animals in the snow and do not try to approach them;
• Move slowly in small groups, avoiding the twilight hours and the night;
• While practicing ski mountaineering, keep track of ascent and descent coinciding;
• Avoid snow-free rocky areas and particularly sensitive areas (breeding, nesting and wintering areas for grouse and ungulates);
• Always keep dogs on a leash;
By behaving in this way, we can avoid considerable difficulties for the wildlife. The best relationship is a long distance relationship, especially in winter time.