News And Events | 
Iberian cooperation against the illegal use of poison
30 November 2011

Last September, LPN, coordinating beneficiary of the project LIFE+ Enhancing habitat for the Iberian lynx and black vulture in the Southeast of Portugal (LIFE Habitat Lince Abutre), and Gypaetus Foundation, coordinating beneficiary of the project LIFE+ Innovative actions against illegal poisoning in EU Mediterranean pilot areas (LIVE Innovation against poison), signed a cooperation agreement to articulate efforts between projects in actions in which they can complement each other, namely in what concerns illegal poisoning.


The impact of the use of poison in wild species is little known and potentially underestimated, being one of the main threats to the survival of many birds of prey and mammal carnivores, namely scavenger species, like black vulture. In Europe, although forbidden under Habitats Directive (Annex VI), the use of poisoned bait is deeply rooted in many rural areas where natural predation by feral dogs and cats can have a significant effect on rural economic activities, or in an attempt to kill predators in order to minimize the loss of hunting species or cattle because of predation.

Therefore, in October 2010 LIFE Innovation against poison started, aiming the implementation, monitoring, assessment and spread of innovative and demonstrative actions that significantly improve current strategies for fighting illegal poisoning in the EU, most specifically in Portugal (Center and Alentejo), Spain (Extremadura and Andalusia) and Greece (Thessalia and Kriti). As a result, this project has the participation of Portuguese institutions as partners, including one of the associated beneficiaries of LIFE Habitat Lince Abutre – the Center for Studies of Iberian Avifauna (CEAI), at Mourão/Moura/Barrancos SPA. The black vulture (Aegypius monachus) and the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) are two of the threatened species that this conservation project targets, alongside other birds of prey and predators, like the Iberian imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti) or the brown bear (Ursus arctos).

Also, under the framework of LIFE Habitat Lince Abutre, started in January 2010, a poison mitigation plan will be elaborated, with a study and description of the impacts of poisoning in domestic and wild species at Mourão/Moura/Barrancos SPA, Guadiana SPA, Moura/Barrancos pSCI and Guadiana pSCI. This will allow determine the real dimension of illegal poisoning in the project’s area, identify the causes and motivations for poisoning use, and elaborate an intervention plan at the study area scale.

This articulation between projects will result in a compilation and exchange of information on the use of poison, plans to fight illegal poisoning will be elaborated and the results of actions targeting illegal poisoning prevention and dissuasion will be shared (alternative measures). This cooperation will also be extended to more general actions, such as the articulation to amplify the disclosure and awareness actions.

This close cooperation between LIFE – Nature projects assumes a great importance at the Iberian level, enhancing the share of information and the optimization of results from both projects, in what concerns the fight against illegal poisoning.