An important bridge between Israel and Viterbo to save the lanner

Leading raptor conservationist visiting Vico for LIFE LANNER

Last week the LIFE LANNER European project, supported mainly by the European Union with 2.5 million euros, welcomed raptor conservationist Ohad Hatzofe. Hatzofe managed the project for lanner falcon reintroduction in Israel and is one of the world’s leading ornithologists. The Ente Monti Cimini – Lago di Vico Nature Reserve, project coordinator of LIFE LANNER, had the pleasure of showing the guest around the facilities of the Vico wildlife rescue centre. The focus of the visit were the structures aimed at breeding lanner falcons for reintroduction. Moreover, we visited the release sites with hacking boxes both in the Lake Vico Reserve and in the Marturanum Natural Park.

LIFE LANNER team with Ohad Hatzofe
Part of the LIFE LANNER team welcomed raptor conservationist Ohad Hatzofe in Viterbo

A close international collaboration established for sharing best practices

The LIFE LANNER group showed the various release techniques used throughout the project, which were already inspired by the experience of the Israeli raptor conservationist. In fact, Hatzofe has been head of avian ecology at the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) science division since 2003. In this role, he succeeded in the difficult task of reintroducing the raptor to his country, where it went extinct in the 1990s. The visit involved technical staff of the Ente Monti Cimini – Lake Vico Nature Reserve, and also of other project partners including the Lazio Region, the Province of Viterbo, and the non-profit organization Ornis italica. The meeting was a valuable chance to exchange knowledge on the breeding techniques for a sensitive species facing extinction. Lanner falcons (Falco biarmicus feldeggii) are in fact in sharp decline throughout the Mediterranean, and particularly in Italy, where the historical population was once the most abundant.

Raptor conservationist Ohad Hatzofe sharing his experience
Ohad Hatzofe sharing his experience on lanner reintroduction

LIFE LANNER: the only concrete action to save the Lanner in Italy

The lanner is similar to the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), but it is a much shyer animal and rather difficult to identify. The monitoring performed within the project framework has unfortunately confirmed its disappearance as a breeding species in Lazio. In Tuscany, only two couples have been recorded, despite the fact that there were dozens only a few years ago.

According to Daniela Boltrini, President of the Ente Monti Cimini – Lake Vico Nature Reserve,

The LIFE LANNER project, coordinated by this institution, is the only concrete action put in place in Italy to reverse this trend. This will be possible thanks to the captive breeding and reintroduction program, the recovery of habitat and securing of power lines, and is a complex and fascinating undertaking. The Israeli expert appreciated the efforts put into it by LIFE LANNER and its staff, giving technical suggestions at an international level and setting up a relationship that will certainly bring good long-term results.