LIFE ANTIDOTO Anti-poison Dog Units

Two Anti-poison Dog Units, established in the framework of the LIFE ANTIDOTO Project (, have been active since 2010. They mainly serve within the Gran Sasso-Laga National Park, but also in the rest of the region and sometimes in surrounding regions, as they are currently funded by the Ministry of Environment.
One dog unit is managed by the Gran Sasso-Laga Park Authority and is made up of three dogs (Belgian Malinois Maya and Karma, and Border Collie Datcha) and handler Alberto Angelini of the Park Authority. The other dog unit is managed by the State Forestry Corps Command deployed at the Gran Sasso-Laga Park, and is made up of two dogs (Belgian Malinois Dingo and Labrador Jonai) and handler Alessandra Mango, superintendent of the State Forestry Corps. Once the six PLUTO Anti-poison Dog Units will be established, the ANTIDOTO dog units will work together with them, to guarantee effective prevention and prompt removal of toxic material. The activity of the ANTIDOTO ADUs continued after project conclusion: their main results are summarised below.

From September 2010 to March 2014, the ADUs carried out 133 preventive inspections within the Gran Sasso-Laga National Park. No poison baits or carcasses were found during preventive inspections.

Urgent checks upon reporting
From September 2010 to March 2014, the ADUs carried out 103 urgent checks (0 in 2010, 14 in 2011, 18 in 2012, 36 in 2013, 35 in 2014).

Chart 1

90 out of 103 urgent checks took place outside of the Gran Sasso-Laga National Park.
43 of them took place in other Italian protected areas (Abruzzo-Lazio-Molise National Park, Majella National Park, Monti Sibillini National Park, Sirente-Velino Regional Park, Gole del Sagittario Nature Reserve, Foreste Casentinesi National Park, Alpi Marittime Regional Park, Monte Genzana-Alto Gizio Nature Reserve, Monti Simbruini Regional Park).
It is important to notice how the number of checks upon reporting has been steadily increasing over the years. This is most likely the result of two factors: ever-improving awareness about Anti-poison Dog Units and their effectiveness; and effective collaboration with the State Forestry Corps, Park authorities, local health authorities, etc.

Chart 2

Results of the inspections
During 17 out of 103 urgent checks, poison baits or carcasses were found.
During 3 out of 103 urgent checks, potentially useful elements were found.

Chart 3

On the whole, 59 baits, 1 group of baits (during the same inspection), 16 poisoned carcasses and 3 further elements were found.

Chart 4

Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) represented the vast majority of the carcasses found.

Chart 5

When grouping poison findings by area and period (thus considering 13 episodes of poison baits scattering), the most used toxic substances were metaldehyde (5), Aldicarb (carbamate, 4), and mixtures of different substances (4).

  • Immagine 1
  • Immagine 2
  • Handler Alessandra Mango with Dingo e Jonai
  • Immagine 3
  • Handler Alberto Angelini with Maya
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