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SPEA is an Environmental not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support research and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, by promoting sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.
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Life Rupis project partners discuss the progress on the fight against poison in the Douro canyon


The Life Rupis project partners and other stakeholders met this week in Barca d´Alva, in a workshop organized by the VCF under the Life Rupis project, to discuss progress in the fight against poison and improve procedures and protocols.


The use of poison is one of the main causes of unnatural mortality in vultures, also in the Iberian Peninsula. The use of poison baits has been illegal for more than three decades, but unfortunately continues to be a relatively frequent practice, primarily for the control of predators.



As part of the LIFE RUPIS project, a number of anti-poisoning actions are being implemented. Perhaps more relevant, a anti-poisoning dog unit was established within the Portuguese police unit in the region – the first such team in the north of Portugal, and is being used to patrol the area. Until July, they had done more than 50 patrols in the area of the project.

The project has also established all the protocols and systems to collect and analyse all vultures and other wildlife that are suspected of being poisoned, including the protocols for registration of the case, necropsy, and the toxicological analyses. Prior to the LIFE RUPIS project, the national protocols were not being implemented on the Portuguese side of the Douro region, due to lack of funding or coordination, so poisoning cases would go undetected or would not be analysed.


In the last year 5 cases of suspected poisoning were identified in the project area or its environs, affecting a number of species (fortunatly no vultures, but at least 3 red kites). Necropsies and toxicological analysis were made, and some poisons identified – including strychnine, rodenticide and methaldeid.





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