Antipoaching news

Update on the activities of LWA EU Anti-Poison Dog Units

16 April 2024
Aree Protette Alpi Marittime

The field work of the 9 Anti-Poison Dog Units established under the LIFE WolfAlps EU project, together with that of the 4 Units already operational with the previous LIFE WolfAlps project, is of paramount importance not only for the protection of wildlife but also to prevent serious damage to domestic animals, humans and the environment.

In 2023 alone, 454 interventions were carried out, including 165 emergency interventions on reports of an animal carcass or suspicious substance. There are already more than 140 inspections conducted by the Units in 2024. Several findings have been successful but there are still many ongoing investigations.

The Carabinieri Corps (Carabinieri Forestali), LIFE WolfAlps EU project Italian partners, directly Manage three LWA EU ADPUs in Liguria, Lombardy and Veneto e two in Piedmont formed during the previous LIFE WolfAlps.

Since the beginning of the year in Lombardy, Lecco APDU has carried out 34 inspections, of which 20 were urgent. In March alone, 15 inspections, including 9 urgent and 6 preventive. Preventive inspections covered the provinces of Lecco, Como and Bergamo, and urgent inspections also covered the provinces of Brescia, Sondrio and, outside the region, Parma and Piacenza. Of particular note was the urgent inspection carried out in the municipality of Premana (LC), in the urban area, which was successful with the discovery of meat bait containing shards of glass.

Nyx, the female of German shepherd from the APDU established at the CC Biodiversity Unit Cansiglio, Veneto, with her handler has carried out 28 inspections since the beginning of the year, 3 of which were successful. Among the various interventions, in February Nyx found a carcass with suspicious substance (poisonin-like) in the municipality of Caneva (PN, Friuli Venezia Giulia). Moreover, four bites of pieces of mixed meat were found in March in the Municipality of Roana (VI), following a report of citizens whose dog had died. All findings were handed over to the IZS for appropriate analysis.

In particular in 2023 is a serious case of poisoning in the province of Verona: the Veneto Dog Unit, after finding the carcass of a calf stuffed with poison, found 6 dead imperial crows in a fairly large area around the poisoned bait.

On April 24, the Carabinieri Forestali Anti-Poison Dog Unit of Genoa Rivarolo, Liguria, consisting of the German shepherd Baro and her handler, worked in collaboration with the APDU LWA EU of the Regional Vigilance Unit for an urgent inspection in the Municipality of Pontedassio (IM).

The phenomenon of intentional poisoning of animals is steadily increasing, mainly affecting domestic pets, but posing a real threat to protected and endangered species.

For this reason, APDUs are also involved in various divugation and information initiatives, such as the one held in April in Sant’Olcese (GE) in collaboration with Escursioni Liguria, project stewards, and the Carabinieri Forestali Anti-Poison Dog Unit of Genoa Rivarolo.

For more information on this dangerous and illegal practice check out our dedicated article WHAT ARE POISONED BAITS?