Our conference on wildlife rescue centers was a great success

There was a great turnout of both citizens and institutions at the conference on wildlife rescue centres organized by the LIFE LANNER project, held in Caprarola on Wednesday 19 April.

Great turnout at the LIFE LANNER conference in Caprarola

The value of wildlife rescue centres

Biodiversity, care of injured wild animals and public health were the key themes at the conference, which was organized by the Lake Vico Natural Reserve and e-distribuzione at the Scuderie Farnese in Caprarola. Over 90 people attended the conference, where experts talked about the efforts that public bodies and associations carry out every day to recover, treat and release wild animals when found injured. As highlighted during the conference, wild animal rescue centers are not only contact points for citizens who find injured animals, but also places where praiseworthy projects such as LIFE LANNER are conceived and developed. In fact, our project was envisioned by the personnel of Lake Vico Natural Reserve for the protection of the lanner falcon. Another role of rescue centres is to guarantee health monitoring allowing early warnings in the event of hospitalization of animals with suspicious symptoms, for example attributable to avian flu. However, all of this requires greater institutional support and funding. Each CRAS treats from 600 up to 8,000 animals a year, with insufficient human and economic resources.

During the conference, we also presented the newly created network of 34 wildlife rescue centres, created in the framework of LIFE Lanner, which will share the data of falcons in their facilities into a single database, necessary for the protection of the lanner.

Presenting the network of wildlife rescue centres developed by LIFE Lanner

Participation of public bodies and institutions

The conference was attended by the regional councilors Valentina Paterna (president of the environmental commission), Daniele Sabatini, Enrico Panunzi, the president of the Lake Vico Natural Reserve Daniela Boltrini, the director Angelo Cappelli, and the mayor of Caprarola Angelo Borgna, Nicola Ferrarini as director of Veterinary Services of the Viterbo local health authority, and Luigi De Grossi, director of the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute of Viterbo, in addition to many technicians and managers from rescue centres of Lazio.

Halfway through LIFE LANNER: achievements

The conference was held at the peak of activities of the LIFE Lanner project. The first half of them were greatly appreciated by officials of the European Commission and the Ministry of the Environment, which paid us a visit last February in Lake Vico and Marturanum. During the conference we illustrated the most recent implementations of the project, such as the breeding of three pairs of lanners (never before carried out in a public center), the securing of 195 utility poles in two protected areas to avoid electrocution risk for raptors and other large birds, and the reopening of over 40 hectares of pastures in the Province of Viterbo to restore areas suitable for the hunting and feeding of these animals. The project has also made it possible to genetically characterize the lanner falcon, something which had never been done before, defining its identity unambiguously thanks to the comparison of over 100 samples of lanner and other falcons, obtained from all over Europe by the Zooprophylactic Institute of Lazio and Tuscany.

The LIFE18 NAT/IT/000720 LIFE LANNER project, coordinated by the Monti Cimini – Lake Vico Nature Reserve, will be active until 2025.

Panel discussion at the end of the conference

Current situation and future perspectives

As you know, the Lanner falcon is on the list of species listed by the European Birds Directive as a priority for funding under the LIFE program, and is currently classified as a vulnerable species in Italy. Several studies have recently shown the dramatic decrease in the Italian population, from 140-172 couples in 2007 (National Action Plan) to 60-80 (Biodiversity Journal, 2018).

In Lazio, the population went from 10-15 pairs in the 1980s to 5-7 pairs in 2001. In 2015, only one pair nested in Lazio and since 2016, no pair has been identified. The LIFE Lanner project is countering these trends with actions aimed at releasing a high number of individuals, reducing pressure on the species and expanding knowledge, also through to conferences like the one just held in Caprarola.

The conference ended with the intention of a close collaboration between the competent bodies and the wildlife rescue centre of Lake Vico for an ever better operational management of wildlife.

Press contact: Giuseppe Puddu