The Project

Italian emergency strategy to combat illegal poisoning and minimize its impact on bear, wolf and other species.

Coordinating beneficiary: Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park Authority
Associated beneficiary: State Forestry Corps
Project area: Central and Southern Italy (Emilia-Romagna, Toscana, Umbria, Marche, Abruzzo, Molise, Lazio, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria Regions); specific actions in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park
Duration: 5 years (1st June 2014 – 31st May 2019)
Budget: 2.414.270 €
EU co-funding: € 1.265.077

The LIFE PLUTO Project consists of several synergistic measures aimed at combating the use of poison, an illegal and brutal practice that causes the death of hundreds of both house and wild animals every year.
The core of the LIFE PLUTO Project is the use of Anti-poison Dog Units on a large portion of the Italian territory.
According to the Project, the State Forestry Corps will establish six Anti-poison Dog Units, each of them consisting of a handler and two dogs, that will work on the entire Central and Southern Italy, covering 11 regions on the whole.
In Abruzzo and surrounding regions, the six PLUTO dog units will work together with the first two dog units to have been created in Italy: the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park established them in 2010 in the framework of the LIFE ANTIDOTO Project, and they are managed by the Park Authority and by the State Forestry Corps.
The Units will carry out regular controls in risk areas, and emergency checks upon reporting of poison baits or carcasses, in order to remove possible further toxic material, prevent more deaths and collect useful elements for the investigation.
The Project also envisages the specialisation of the State Forestry Corps’ dog units staff to handle poisoning cases. Specific trainings will involve other relevant subjects, too (veterinarians, local health authorities, other police corps, etc.), in order to sensitise them and encourage their collaboration to the dog units’ activities.
The environmental emergency telephone number (1515) of the State Forestry Corps will be the reference point for citizens to report poisoning cases, thus helping to discover this type of offences, and enabling the Forestry Corps’ dog units to promptly intervene.
The dog units’ work will be widely publicised, in order to increase its deterrent effect and sensitise the public on this subject.
In the Gran Sasso-Laga Park, specific sensitisation activities targeting the public will be carried out. A fundamental action will be the creation of a feeding station for birds of prey, to be supplied in collaboration with local livestock farms. This activity will help several carrion birds, and will mitigate possible conflicts between livestock farms and large carnivores, which could otherwise result in the use of poison.

  • Immagine 1
  • Italian regions involved in the LIFE PLUTO Project
  • Immagine 2
  • An anti-poison dog points at the carcass of a griffon vulture
  • Immagine 3
  • LIFE ANTIDOTO Project’s Anti-poison dog units during an inspection
  • Immagine 4
  • Training course for staff of the State Forestry Corps and other police authorities
  • Immagine 5
  • Police staff and veterinarian on the discovery location of a poisoned carcass
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