When snow falls on Monesi di Triora, a ski resort in the Alps, it can seem like a perfect winterland paradise.
But any kind of winter sports activity has now been prohibited — just because of a big bird.
The black grouse in question, say naturalists, could be bothered by excessive human presence, because during winter the birds have a unique roosting habit of digging tunnels under the snow to conserve energy before mating season, which begins in March and lasts through June.
The city council that oversees the resort has therefore issued an order forbidding trekking, skiing, climbing, and even snowshoeing in the idyllic resort, reportsLa Stampa.
The town has taken it badly because tourists — especially during winter — are manna for the local economy. The rare grouse has become a source of contention and has left members the hospitality industry in a fowl mood.
Although the mayor has now withdrawn the order because of the backlash, damage has still been done, as the ban reportedly led many to pick another holiday destination.
"We will try to convince the region to review the requirements," said the council, "And a more detailed study on the bird to prove that it is there and must be protected will be commissioned. The area is very small — it makes no sense to extend the restrictions to the entire town."