In 2019, the Tutela Rapaci Group continued to operate in synergy with:
– the staff of the Life ConRaSi project for the monitoring and surveillance of the sites of Bonelli’s Eagle, Lanner Falcon and Egyptian Vulture;
– the Grefa (Grupo de Rehabilitación de la Fauna Autóctona) for the marking and the activities
of captive breeding and reproduction of Bonelli’s Eagle and for the reintroduction activities of the kidnapped birds of prey;
– the young volunteers of the Life Choona project for the surveillance activity at the nests;
– the CITES Carabinieri Group for helping on the investigations on the birds of prey held in captivity by falconers.
The collaboration with the CITES group has finally entered the operational phase: the reports and information exchanges of previous years have allowed the start of an important police operation.
The GTR volunteers have been appointed as judicial police auxiliaries in every operation conducted.
The collaboration resulted in the following activities:
– supply of photographic material and information (plate numbers and names) gathered during the activity of control and surveillance of the nests;
– technical support during the preliminary investigation activities;
– technical support while monitoring the falconers activities;
– general assessment of the health status of the controlled animals;
– appraisal of animals of dubious origin.
Ten falconers were sent to trial following the investigations carried out. GTR volunteers will take part in the trials as experts.
There are about seventy animals seized during the operations: they belong to protected species among which we highlight the Lanner Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Little Owl. The carcass of a young Lanner Falcon, who died immediately after being taken from the nest, was also seized.
All the animals seized were admitted to the wildlife recovery center “Stretto di Messina”.
A part from the animals, around 40 false CITES documents and several coded rings were seized.
Police investigations have allowed us to understand that theft of birds of prey are directed to those nests that are not supervised by GTR volunteers. The falconers monitor the areas and carry out the theft only after ascertaining the absence of control.
In two cases the GTR ornithologists were called to take part in the operations of reintroduction into the wild of the kidnapped birds of prey.
In the first case it was a Peregrine nestling about 18 days old. The staff of the GTR, of the Life ConRaSi and of the Grefa have jointly suggested the technique of the fostering : the nestling was introduced in a nest kept under control along with three other young nestlings and successfully fledged and flew.
In the second case, five Peregrine youngs, around 70 days old, were reintroduced into a suitable natural environment by adopting the hacking technique, considered, despite advanced age, the best solution.