By Jeanne Outlaw-Cannavo
This month instead of one of my adventures in Italy I would like to tell you about some animal friends that were born and live in the wild. I haven’t seen any of these wild animals (except for the Corsican hare during a visit to Sicily) but I know something about them because mamma and nonna love to learn about all things Italian.
They even took a trip to the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise to try and see a brown bear but non sono arrivati (they didn’t arrive) early enough to see one of these animali grandiosi (majestic animals) leaving their caves a caccia di cibo (hunting for food). The brown Marsican bear brings many visitors to the park ogni anno (every year) hoping for a glimpse of the park’s symbolic animal. Quest’orso (this bear) seems only interested in un bel pisolino (a nice little nap)!
During a summer visit to Graniti in Sicily we were walking around in le montagne (the mountains) when I saw a Corsican hare, also known as the Apennine hare or Italian hare. It was first brought to the island of Corsica around the 14th century and is listed as an endangered animal on the island. It also lives on the island of Sicily and in several southern regions of Italy. Io sono veloce (I am fast) but when I began to chase the hare it left me, as they say, nella polvere (in the dust)!
Sulla isola di Gigli (on the island of Gigli) off the coast of Tuscany you can find wild goats called Mufloni. Le capre (goats) have large curved corni (horns) and reddish brown short hair. Mufloni are considered an endangered species along with several other animals in Italy.
One of these is the Foca Monaca Mediterranea (the monk seal). There was once a large popolazione (population)
of these adorable mammals but scientists think there may now be less than 600 in just two areas in the Mediterranean and the Northeast Atlantic. Mediterranean monk seals mostly seek refuge in well-hidden underwater caves but love to come out and play in the sun.
Italy is also home to the Cinghiale (wild boar), many of which live in Tuscany and Lazio but also in other regions. The animals are wild ancestors of pigs with a square body and short and thin legs. They shake their long coda (tail) when they are upset and have long musi (snouts) they use to dig for food. Mi spaventano! (They scare me!)
And my favorite si chiama la donnola di meno (is called the least weasel). E` piccola come me (it’s small like me) and molto carina (very cute).