Antipoaching Communication

Radio collar found chopped: possible act of poaching

24 May 2023

Poaching continues to be one of the causes of wolf mortality in Italy. A new, probable case comes from the Alessandria region, in a lowland area where the wolf’s presence is recent.

The GPS radio collar that had been attached to a young wolf last September was found, cut off and hidden in a stream.

The animal, a two-year-old male, had been recovered on Sept. 27, 2022 along S.P. 14 in the municipality of Castagnole Monferrato, in the province of Asti (Piedmont, Italy) by the CANC (Centro Animali Non Convenzionali) of the University Veterinary Hospital of the University of Turin, a center responsible for care for wildlife in distress. Following hospitalization and treatment, the animal had been released back into the wild in early October, fitted with a radio collar so that its movements could be monitored. The operation had been carried out by the Province of Asti, with scientific technical support from the Regional Reference Center on Large Carnivores and DBIOS, University of Turin in coordination with ISPRA.

In the first 15 days after its release, the animal traveled a total linear distance of about 186 km occupying a minimum area of 160 km2 between the province of Asti and the province of Alessandria. During the winter, the wolf frequented the hills between Alessandria and Casale, together with the pack to which it belonged. The analysis of data obtained from radio-collar monitoring is the subject of a thesis project.

Radio collar found chopped: possible act of poaching - Life Wolfalps EU
An image of the wolf with radio collar taken by a cameratrap. Credits: UNITO.

Thanks to the monitoring, a field survey was immediately made when the collar sent a mortality signal (a signal that is sent when the radio collar remains stationary in the same place, for a specific amount of time). The inspection was done in the company of an Anti Poison Dog Unit, and resulted in the discovery of the collar alone, cut off and thrown into a stream, under an overpass, in the municipality of Cuccaro Monferrato. No trace was found of the wolf wearing it, but the discovery of the cut collar suggests an act of poaching.