Lessinia Nature Park has an extreemly varied and interesting wildlife heritage. You can find along the elevations and the valleys of the Highlands a good representative of typical Alpine species and some of these are even seen at the most southern borders of their range of Italian distribution.  


Lessinia Nature Park has an extremely varied and interesting wildlife heritage. You can find along the elevations and the valleys of the highlands a good representative of typical Alpine species and some of these are even seen at the most southern borders of their range of Italian distribution. Over the past few decades, also thanks to the establishment of Protected Areas , there has been a relevant increase in the numbers and territorial expansion of many species. The naturalistic importance of this area is confirmed by the presence of three sites of the European Ecological network, “Natura 2000”: SIC “Monti Lessini Cascate di Molina”, SIC “Monti Lessini Ponte di Veja e Vajo della Marciora” e SIC “Monti Lessini – Pasubio – Piccole Dolomiti Vicentine”, of which the last two are also identified as ZPS (special protection zones).

The most important areas from a wildlife point of view are Giazza Forest, l'Alto Vajo dell'Anguilla e i Folignani, il Corno d'Aquilio and the steep wooded slopes of the onlooking Adige Valley.The wildlife that an observant climber might see is that of vertebrates, in particular some big mammals, and above all many types of birds which nest here in the period of spring and that pass through this area in large numbers during migration seasons.  

In the rocky areas, at the highest borders of the wooded vegetation, it is also possible to see the Alpine Chamois. This species, which comes form the bordering Trentino territory, settled here permenently from the begining of the 90s and currently boasts a population of over 300.  The Doe Deer instead prefers the wooded areas which are broken up by clearings and areas rich in shrub-like vegetation. The Deer, a very elusive animal despite its size, mostly occupies the wooded slopes above the Adige Valley and the Folignani Forest. Il Wild boar, a non indigenous species,imprudently released in the past for hunting reasons, finds refuge amongst the ravines present in the Adige Valley and the wildest parts of the Vaj.

The recent colonization of the Wolf, is of extrem scientific interest, with the extraordinary event of the formation of a wolf couple , where the female wolf is an Italian wolf and the male is of Balkan descent.  Over the last few years there have also been more frequent sightings of Brown Bears.  These are animals which have wondered into the area from the nearby Trentino population, which thanks to the European project "Life Ursus" had brought in 10 bears between 1999 and 202 from Slovenia, to try and avoid the complete extinction of this species in the Central Alps. Also of great significance it is the established presence of the Porcupine, an unmistakable rodent with north african origins covered in long black and white quills, which is present in the broad- leaved woods located at lower elevations. 

The  Marmot , reintroduced into the area in middle of the 90s , can be seen in substantial numbers between April and October in the Alpine grasslands and flowering bolders of the high pastures. In the mixed conifer and broad-leaved woods you can see the agile Squirrel as it moves quickly from branch to branch in search of food.  Many other mammal species while being quite common, due to their size and nocturnal habits , go unnoticed. Amongst these one should lookout for the weasel, the stone marten, the pine marten, the  badger, the Fox, the Common Hare and numerous micro mammals (Hedgehog, Mole, various species of Shrewmouse, Shrews, Dormice, Dormice, Mice, Small mice and Rats). Diverse Bat species live and find safe refuge in the numerous Limestone grottos and caves, some of these are host to estabished reproductive colonies and are considered some of the most important sites on a regional level. Birds are by far the easiest vertebrates that hikers can see while on the trails, both due to the large populations that you can often see and the characteristic singing of various species.   

Amongst the  mountain galliformes it is also possible to hear in spring the unmistakable song of the Black Grousepresent mostly in the eastern sections of the Park, rarely and in isolated incidents there are the small and elusive Hazel Grouse, the powerful Heather Cock and the Rock Partridge. 
Amongst the Diurnal Birds of Prey the most moving sighting is that of the 'Golden Eagle; there is an established couple in the area and they have chosen to nest in the Giazza Forest. In the summer season it is possible to spot the Short-toed Eagle, a great bird of Prey which is part of a particular group of eagles that are specialized in preying on reptiles.
The Peregrine Falcon, an impressive Falcon with long, pointy wings, is present with a established number of couples which nest on the steep rocky walls of the main valley ledges. In the high grasslands the Kestrel is easily sighted while still in the air with its arched and quick beating wings and its tail open like a fan, scrutinizing the land below in search of insects and small rodents, In Spring and Summer it is possible to spot the Black Kite which flies over the wooded areas of the Adige Valley  and the Alpine grasslands with the slow and marked beating of its wings; more widespread are the Sparrow Hawks and the  Buzzards, while less frequent and isolated are the sightings of the Northern Goshawk.
During the last days of August and the first days of September many European Honey Buzzards fly over the area during migration from nesting grounds to warm winter destinations. 
Amongst the most significant nocturnal birds of prey there are the Eurasian Eagle Owl, Boreal OwlPygmy Owl and the  Eurasian Scops Owl; more common and dispersed species are the Long-Eared Owl, the Tawny Owl and the Little Owl.  Also present but rarely seen is the Corn Crake, this migratory Rallidae is one of the most protected species on a European level.  Amongst the important woodpecker species it is important to note the recent sightings of the rare Grey-Headed Woodpecker; also, located in the mature beech and fir woods, is the Black woodpecker; instead more frequently seen and dispersed are small and colourful Great Spotted woodpeckers, seen also at lower elevations along with the  European Green Woodpeckers and the Eurasian Wrynecks

Amongst the corvidi easily spotted in the more open areas are the confident Alpine Chough, the powerful Common Crow, the common Hooded crown and in the woods, the noisy Eurasian Jay and the less common Spotted Nutcracker. The Alpine grasslands with their rocky outcrops host the Common Rock Thrush. At higher levels of elevation, above the high pastures and near the steep rocky cliffs, you can easily observe the acrobatic circling of the Common Swift, the Alpine Swift, the Eurasian Crag Martin, the Common House Martin and, with a bit of luck, the rare Wallcreeper. Along the Fraselle and Chiampo streams and in the Breonio creek areas the uncommon White Throated Dipper and elegant  Grey Wagtail nest.
In the winter the high pastures are visited by Alpine Accentors e White-winged Snowfinches, coming from Balso and Carega ranges. Out of the entire Alpine range it is known that the Snow Bunting  spends its winter only in Lessinia and that this small  artic passariformes, rare to Italy, every year attracts ,to the now famous Bocca di Selva  hotspot, numerous birdwatchers and ecological photographers from near and afar. There are still numerous bird species that can be seen in the park, of which the most common are: Common Wood Pigeons, Common Cuckoos, Eurasian Skylarks, SwallowsTree Pipits, White Wagtails, Troglodytes, European Robins, Northern Wheatears, Black Red Starts, Common Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Mistle Thrushes, Ring Ouzels, Eurasian Blackcaps, Common Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests, Coal tits, Willow tits, The Great tits, Eurasian Blue Tits, European Crested Tits, Eurasian treecreepers, Red-backed strikes, Common Starlings, Italian Sparrows, Eurasian Tree Sparrows, Common Chaffinches, European Goldfinches, Eurasian Bullfinches, Common Linnets,Yellowhammers, Corn Buntings and many many more.

In the fresh waters of the Fraselle and  Chiampo rivers and the Breonio creek areas one finds the Brown Trout. Amongst the most common amphibians, in the fresher and more humid environments one finds the Fire Salamander, the Alpine Newt, the European Toad and the European Common Frog.  Amongst the reptiles, in the most aride and rockiest of areas one commonly finds the Commons Wall Lizard, the European Green Lizard , the Green Whip Snake, the Smooth Snake, the  European Viper and the European Asp; The Slow Worm and the European Grass Snake prefer locations that are fresher and more huimid. Here one finds a varied and rich group of invertebrates of great scientific interest especially those of the troglofauna and arthropd species. It is worth mentioning the Italaphaenops dimaioi, a native 15mm cave dwelling beetle that is considered the biggest in the world.

(Archivio Parco Naturale Regionale della Lessinia)