End of May 2013 Dr. Alessio Zanon from the Veterinary University of Parma , pig expert of the Italian organization for the conservation of endangered livestock breeds ( RARE ) , pointed out that a last group of small , black Valtellina pigs has survived in a Fattoria Didattica (school farm), but unfortunately will disappear. He asked to take conservation measures (Valtellina pigs are identical to the previous Grisons and Ticino pigs in neighboring Switzerland). In the knowledge that a breed is extinct before all the animals are dead, and because no one else was ready, the "Network for old Alpine breeds" - which among others is concerned with the backbreeding of the Tyrolean chicken - took over on an emergency basis these last black Alpine pigs.
In the frame of this rescue project and in contact with the official agencies of the veterinary and breeding services in Valtellina, the "Network" unexpectedly got also access to the last pure Ciuta sheep. The Ciuta lives in the Valtellina side-valley Val Masino and is the smallest sheep in the Alpine circle. Thanks to the veterinary service it was possible to buy two dozen animals and to establish new breeding nuclei.