In August 2020, with the imminent release of captive-born Egyptian vultures, an anti-poison dog unit (UCA) of the Carabinieri Forestali went into action in the Murgia Materana Natural Park to ensure that the young vultures would not run any risk of poisoning once free.
Within a few days, the UCA, composed of the conductor Appuntato Andrea Lamarucciola and his dog Africa, a splendid Belgian shepherd malinois, carried out several inspections in the release area, fortunately not detecting any evidence of the use of poison.
This Anti-poison Dog Unit, which is based in Frosolone (IS), in Molise, is one of the six units that the Carabinieri of Forestry, Environmental and Agri-food Unit Command CUFA has activated as part of the LIFE PLUTO project and which operate along the Italian Peninsula, from Emilia Romagna to Calabria, to fight the illegal use of poison.
Thanks to an agreement entered between ISPRA and CUFA as part of the LIFE Egyptian vulture project, UCAs will carry out periodic inspections over the next few years and, if necessary, urgent inspections in sensitive areas for the Egyptian vulture; it is an important activity since the presence of poisoned morsels or carcasses of animals that have died from poisoning constitutes a serious danger for the Egyptian vulture as well as for many other species of necrophagous raptors and carnivorous mammals.
For more information on the LIFE PLUTO project:www.lifepluto.it