Regional authorities and agents received training on the prevention and detection of wildlife poaching

July 3, 2024

On 19 June, Paredes de Coura hosted an event promoted in partnership with LIFE WolFlux, a project coordinated by Rewilding Portugal, to promote the training and replicability of solutions for the prevention and detection of poaching aimed at the Iberian wolf and its wild prey. The training session was aimed at officers and civilians from the GNR-SEPNA, Nature Watchers, and the ICNF’s National Corps of Forestry Agents and Forest Sappers, working in the districts of Viana do Castelo, Braga and Vila Real, where the Iberian wolf occurs in Portugal.

With the auditorium of the cultural centre full to capacity, around 150 people had the opportunity to take part in a training session dedicated to monitoring and mitigating conflicts with wolves, the impacts of poaching on wolves and their natural prey, such as wild boar, roe deer, deer and ibex.

Rewilding Portugal shared the experience of preventing poaching developed under the European LIFE WolFlux project – in which a surveillance team was set up to detect snares and other environmental crimes – with the aim of promoting replication and the exchange of lessons learnt with agents working in the Peneda-Gêres National Park and its area of influence.

The ICNF presented data on the Dead Wolf Monitoring System and the Antidote Programme, and explained how the Cattle Breeders’ Damage Compensation System works.

Hunting control measures to prevent illegal means of capture, such as snares and poisoned baits, were also highlighted, discussed by the GNR and BIOPOLIS. Given that more than 200 animals of protected species were killed by poison between 1982 and 2014, a key concept to remember is that “these methods of illegal persecution do not choose species”, which means that domestic animals and even people can also accidentally suffer serious physical damage, and in the case of poisoning, there is a high risk of environmental contamination. The GNR’s intervention was complemented by a demonstration of the anti-venom cynotechnical team, recently installed in Viana do Castelo, with two teams of agents (handler and dog), who are currently in training.

The programme also included an open discussion, with important contributions from the main agents who are in the field on a daily basis, who deal with incidents and play a fundamental role in monitoring and preventing theft.

In order to make it possible to record poaching situations involving snares and poisoned baits, the “I saw a wolf” mobile phone application was presented, which allows any citizen to record observations of wolves and their natural prey, as well as events that threaten these species. This app is available on the LoboIbérico.PT platform at . This application facilitates access to the IFAP platform to request the right to compensation in the case of domestic animals attacked by wolves, as well as to the SOS Ambiente line (800 200 520), for reporting in the event of finding a dead wolf, poison or traps, a situation in which one should not touch or interfere with the evidence until a GNR agent arrives, for safety reasons and so that evidence is not destroyed.

This event was organised by the Rewilding Portugal Association as part of the LIFE WolFlux project, the BIOPOLIS Association, the Paredes de Coura Municipality and the GNR as part of the LIFE Wild Wolf project, with the participation of the ICNF. The aim of this event is centred on the importance of working together between the various local entities in order to find the best solutions for the coexistence of wolves and humans, namely the promotion and dissemination of good forestry and grazing practices among the local community, habitat restoration and conflict mitigation.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.