The Egyptian vulture, a small vulture at risk of extinction, is a species very vulnerable to the use of poison. To mitigate what represents one of the most serious threats to its conservation, the Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) and the Carabinieri Forestry, Environmental and Agri-Food Units Command (CUFAA) signed a specific agreement within the LIFE Egyptian vulture project.
Thanks to this agreement, the CUFAA Anti-Poison Dog Units will carry out control activities in sensitive areas for the species in Southern Italy.
The areas of greatest attention will be the nesting sites, the areas in which the Egyptian vultures stop during the migration and the areas in which food support is provided to the species.
The UCA’s activity will also affect the areas where CERM Association and ISPRA free young vultures born in captivity and the areas frequented later by the free vultures, thanks to the fact that the GPS devices with which they are equipped allows tracking their movements.
The inspections of the Dog Units will be carried out mainly for preventive purposes, for the search for bites and poisoned baits on the territory and for raising public awareness of the danger of poison.However, emergency interventions are also planned, following the discovery of suspect morsels and animals that died of suspected poisoning.
A first control operation was carried out at the end of June in an area of Puglia near the Alta Murgia National Park by the UCA of the LIFE PLUTO project which is based in the Pollino National Park. The inspection involved a Murge area which is also frequented by some of the Egyptian vultures that have been freed in Basilicata in recent years as part of the LIFE Egyptian vulture project.
The activities of the UCA will be integrated with the anti-poaching surveillance that CUFAA will carry out to protect the species by virtue of a further agreement stipulated with ISPRA.