FACE Biodiversity Manifesto Project of the Month – Cretan dog teams against poisoned bait – August 2020

BACKGROUND Every month FACE choses a hunting-related conservation project in Europe as its project of the month. These projects highlight some of the many great initiatives hunters are undertaking to preserve biodiversity. FACE is pleased to present the FACE Biodiversity Manifesto Project of the Month for August 2020 – The successful Cretan dog teams against poisoned baits project.

The use of poison bait is considered in Greece as one of the main threats to many different species (wild and domestic) – many of the wild ones are listed as protected (vultures, eagles).
By recognizing this, the Hunting Federation of Crete & Dodecanese (A’ KOKD) and the University of Crete-Natural History Museum of Crete (UoC-NHMC) decided to cooperate on the creation of a team of 2 anti-poison dog units.
After 18 months of training of the dogs and 1 month training of the handlers with the dogs, this team began patrolling in July 2016.
The dogs were bought by the University of UoC-NHMC in the framework of the project Innovative Actions against Poisoned Bait-After Life which was funded from the Foundation of A.G. Leventis.
The dogs were granted to the Α΄ KOKD and they are supervised by two Federal Gamekeepers.
The team proved to be very effective which was due to:
1. The Federal Gamekeepers have a permanent and stable presence in the countryside, with daily field inspections.
2. The citizens and mainly the hunters trust the Federal Gamekeepers, and they systematically inform them about poising cases and incidents of use of poison baits.
3. The Federal Gamekeepers, as they are active hunters themselves, have knowledge of handling dogs. Their commitment, and also further knowledge and love for these animals are given.

Now in 2020, we have the first results of the 2 dogs for the period July 2016 – June 2019 which are the following:
• Number of patrols: 331
• Patrols with findings: 193
• Poisoned baits found: about 800
• Complaint/lawsuits: 117
• Dead animals found: 260
After this great success, two new sniffer dogs (“Chica” and “Paca”) were purchased and trained and together with their handlers they are patrolling since 2018.

More information about the Antipoison Dog Units project can be found on its official website: https://www.lifebonelli.eu/en/news/98-epideixh-twn-dyo-newn-omadwn-skylwn-anichneyshs-dhlhthriasmenwn-dolwmatwn-toy-programmatos-ife-bonelli-eastmed and https://www.akokd.gr/page-105.html


Photo credits: see link.

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