Home Threats Poison in Italy

In Italy the problem of the illegal use of poison is little known and jumps to the headlines only when it involves species of great media impact, or when the owners of a dog that has been accidentally killed carry the news to the attention of the public.

Yet it is a matter of longstanding, a barbaric practice that probably played a major role in the extinction or drastic reduction from vast areas of Europe of important species such as wolf, bear, griffon vulture, bearded vulture, red kite and Egyptian vulture, and it still undermines their survival.

Despite the initiatives carried out by some regions, municipalities, associations, zooprophylactic institutes and by the Italian State Forestry Corps, Italy lacks a clear picture of the situation of the illegal use of poison, which it is known only in very limited areas.

In Tuscany, in the provinces of Arezzo and Florence, cases of poisoning of domestic dogs are very common and have even led the Provincial Administration of Arezzo to install warning signs on the presence of poisoned baits in the woods.

Among the most well known and sensational episodes of poisoning of wildlife in recent years in Italy, some cases are mentioned below:

  • In August 2008, the death in Sardinia of three valuable specimens of vultures that were released in May 2008 as part of an Interreg Sardinia-Corsica project carried out by Nuoro Province, with the support of the Region of Sardinia and aimed at the reintroduction of species in the island. The animals, within about three months after release, have been killed with a rat poison sprinkled on the carcass of a sheep and other poisoned baits;
  • the death by poisoning in the Velino Sirente Regional Park of 13 griffon vultures in 1998 and 24 in 2007;
  • In January 2006, the poisoning of 12 griffon vultures, just released, in the Pollino National Park;
  • the repeated poisonings of the surviving colony of griffon vultures in Sardinia, periodically replenished with Spanish specimens and periodically decimated by poison;
  • In January 2006, the death of six wolves in Basilicata, including two adults and four young one year old specimens, four foxes and one red kite because of a sheep stuffed with poison;
  • the killing in April 2009 of three wolves, two females and one male in the Monti Sibillini National Park with the carcass of a sheep stuffed with poison;
  • the killing of three wolves in a month, between March and April 2009, in the same area of Parma, with baits poisoned with strychnine.

 

Unfortunately, it is hard to find the poisoned baits throughout the territory, identify those responsible for the crime and then prosecute them. Therefore, there is an almost absolute impunity for this crime, which, of course, does not discourage its implementation.

LIFE ANTIDOTO wants to practice and disseminate effective tools to investigate, prosecute and prevent the practice of poisoning.

 

Poisoned bear (Photo courtesy of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park).
Poisoned bear (Photo courtesy of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park).
Poisoned bear (Photo courtesy of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park).
Poisoned wolf (Photo courtesy of the Monti Simbruini Regional Park).
Poisoned wolf (Photo courtesy of the Monti Simbruini Regional Park).
Poisoned wolf (Photo courtesy of the Monti Simbruini Regional Park).
Poisoned wolf (Photo courtesy of the Monti Sibillini National Park).
Poisoned wolf (Photo courtesy of the Monti Sibillini National Park).
Poisoned wolf (Photo courtesy of the Monti Sibillini National Park).