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A Review of the Year 2018-19

LIPU-UK has just closed another successful business year – and what a year this has been!

We started with a greater fund raising target than ever before and had a clear intention of spending some of the significant funds we have amassed, more about that later. During the year in question we took on another unexpected commitment to help the extension to Canneto Boverio, see:

and yet the year closed with more assets than at its start.

The main reason for this was the unexpected income from legacies which amounted to over £70,000 and with the excellent support from fiends and members throughout the year our target was reached and passed with ease. We have never felt comfortable with the active pursuit of legacies but are very grateful when we are remembered in this way by, in this year, Kathleen Bagen, Muriel Lewis, Ailsa Chamberlain, and David Worrall.

Projects supported

1 Bird hospitals

Partial funding for the Rome Raptor Recovery Centre has been obtained through a grant from the Peretti Foundation, so most LIPU-UK funds have been allocated to CRUMA at Livorno and La Fagiana, near Milan, for medicines, X-rays and food for the birds.

2 Bonelli’s eagle

Unfortunately a bird was shot in 2018 and funding has been increased to include rent of a house and 4-wheel drive vehicle to increase the effectiveness of the local project coordinator. This year three surveillance camps were organised, to which LIPU volunteers contributed as usual. Between the three camps, ten pairs of eagles were monitored throughout the reproduction period and no interference has been recorded this year.

3 Anti-poaching

As well as the camp on the Straits of Messina, work has continued to protect thrushes in Sardinia, Skylarks, Quail and duck in Lesina wetland, and a new project north of Naples where an area of coastal wetland is being restored. This is all work on the front-line, but much is also done behind the scenes. A new investigation of thrushes in captivity will start soon (many are illegally taken from the wild). Also work is ongoing to collect a target 100000 signatures for a petition to get the Ministry of the Environment to speed up the National Anti-poaching Plan.

4 Monitoring raptor migration at the Strait of Messina

This is an intensive program of monitoring raptor movement, wind direction and intensity, roost sites and poaching incidents, in support of the volunteers at the anti-poaching camp. Observations at 3 sites continued between 15 March and 25 May. Observers are in constant contact with volunteers at the camp covered in 3 above.

5 Red footed Falcon

Parma has the most important breeding population of this falcon in Italy, with about 85% of pairs using LIPU nest boxes. The birds depend on agricultural areas for feeding, and this year 4 GPS data loggers have been purchased to collect data on the foraging areas, habitat use and night activities of males and females during the breeding season.

Kentish Plover

6 Kentish Plover in Sardinia

The Sardinian population is the most important in Italy, and 2018 results indicated a dramatic population crash. Monitoring of about 100 coastal sites has been combined this year with efforts to join beach cleans, which though an admirable development, may jeopardise nesting if done at the wrong place or time. These efforts will continue next year.

7 Rock Ptarmigan, in the Alps

This is an ongoing research project to find out what can be done to help this species as climate change erodes its habitat. It is a difficult species to monitor and methods are being explored while awareness raising and evaluation of the impact of tourism continues.

8 Monitoring Important Bird Areas, Local Conservation Groups and Key Biodiversity Areas

This is part of a global initiative which badly needed additional human resources. The IBA inventory urgently needed updating, local conservation groups needed to be coordinated, and steering of KBAs is needed for LIPU and other NGOs. During the year, The IBAs have been updated and a part time coordinator has been appointed for the LCGs. Two new LCGs have been formed.

9 Lanchetta Michela restoration

This was a late request for help with a wetland restoration project near Milan. The project is a partnership between LIPU and Burchvif (see: who have been creating a natural “oasis” in an area of rice production (see: and now have the opportunity of extending the reserve. Excavation is complete and some planting has already been done. In autumn planting of shrubs and trees will be completed and an information board will record the contribution of LIPU-UK.

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In summary, I am sure that we can look back on the last year with some satisfaction and be sure that we’ve made a difference to the birdlife of Italy. Now, for the next year …

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