All about the work and the achievements of the anti-poison dog units in Greece

21.01.2016

The poisoned baits are considered the main threat and cause of death of Egyptian vulture. In the frame of the project, in March 2014 in Central Greece and Thrace two anti-poison dog units were created.

Their goal is a control and timely removal from the countryside poison baits and animals that might cause additional poisoning.  The Anti-poison dog units patrolled the countryside, in areas regularly used by Egyptian vultures and other two vulture species, the griffon and black vulture. Priority was given to patrols in areas where poison events had been recorded in the recent past or new incidents had been notified by forestry service, management bodies of national parks and citizens.

 In 2014, 53 patrols in Central Greece and 35 in Thrace were conducted, spread over 78 days. In total, in 19 patrols 26 dead animals were found and identified as poisoned.  The most commonly poisoned species was the dog (hunting or/and shepherd dog) with 21 fatalities (80% of total findings) followed by the fox with 4 fatalities (15% of total findings). In some events, the poison baits were detected, which in most cases was a piece of meat with poison.

The main drivers for the use of poison baits were: predator extermination, stray dog population control and human conflicts between shepherds or/and hunters. Toxicological analysis revealed three pesticide’s active substances: Endosulfan, Carbofuran (both banned in Greece) and Methomyl.

The anti-poison dog units proved to be an innovative and effective preventive action that also proves the extent of illegal use of poison baits. Many scavengers, including Egyptian vultures, were potentially saved from a certain death.

Find the annual report: “Poison bait detection with specially trained dogs in Thrace and Central Greece” here.

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