From the photo collection of the veterinarian Dott.essa Silvana Cerasa
Until recently, the Ciuta was seriously threatened with extinction due to the rural exodus and cross-breeding. At the Alpine cull in autumn 2013, only three dozen reasonably pure Ciutas could be identified out of almost 500 sheep.
When the pastures previously used for cattle became available at lower altitudes and the need to use the more inaccessible and marginal areas at the highest altitudes diminished, sheep of other heavy breeds such as the Bergamo sheep or Merinos were introduced. This contributed to the displacement of the pure Ciuta and led to the near-extinction of the autochthonous race. In recent years, the alpine network Pro Patrimonio Montano (PatriMont) - with the help of the local veterinarian - has started a rescue project together with a group of local breeders and has formed new breeding groups for purebred animals. Thanks to this work, the Ciuta population is gradually recovering today, although it is not yet really saved. At the moment (2020) there are around 400 animals registered in the herdbooks and probably as many unregistered.