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The Poachers’ War – a Hero’s Diary

The Poachers’ War – a Hero’s Diary


In the autumn, enforcement teams from the Carabinieri Forestali with the essential help of volunteers from LIPU and CABS operate around Brescia in the north of Italy in the fight against poaching. What follows is a diary of the LIPU co-ordinator and I urge you to read to the end and share my admiration for the bravery and dedication of these people trying to bring these criminals to justice and stamp out this appalling practice.

LIPU-UK is proud to have helped finance this important work and we look forward to the day when that help is no longer needed.

For legal reasons the images shown are from the 2021 work but are still indicative of the results obtained this year.

Now, the diary:

7 Oct

Hello, everyone in about 4 hours will start the anti-poaching camp in the Brescia valleys, in fact at three o’clock I will go out with the first two nuclei of the SOARDA, which will check the first objectives, identified by the volunteers of the various associations that support the Carabinieri Forestali (CF) in this operation. Trapping sites with spring traps and nets have already been identified. Greetings Mario Pedrelli

9 Oct

Thank you all so much for the support! I can feel your closeness even from so many kilometres away!

Poachers are getting harder and harder to catch, because although there are fewer and fewer of them, they are becoming more and more organised and careful.
But thanks to a great deal of co-operative work by volunteers and the police, we manage with difficulty to track them down.
Not even after today’s success, we will not stop; another operation is planned for tonight.
Tonight we will get little or no sleep, and I assure you they will get tired before us.
Stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed: I may update you shortly!

A hug
Forza LIPU



10 Oct

Hello, everyone just found one person with 20 chaffinches and bramblings, 15 live blackbirds, 200 birds in the freezer, 300 bow traps in the house and now going to search other properties.

This morning caught 3 more people with various traps and nets.


Spring traps

11 Oct

Returning to base at midnight, we were back in operation at 4 a.m. in the heart of the Val Sabbia.

More traps of all kinds, weapons, dead animals and more seized.



13 Oct

Hello, the camp continues with excellent results from the C F, both qualitative and quantitative. On Tuesday night, a large trapping centre with nets was dismantled in upper Valcamonica.

Unfortunately the number plate of the car used by LIPU volunteers was reported on various hunters’ Whatsapp chats. We will have to be more careful when moving from valley to valley.



18 Oct

Hello, after 11 days in the field and the excellent results obtained, today is a day of hunting silence, where CC patrols are busy on nets and spring traps. Yesterday a big seizure of turdidae in a shop in Bergamo with the support of Lipu ornithologists and the dismantling of a roccolo in the province of Brescia. As I write to you I have been lurking since 4am this morning on a net waiting for the bracco…. Let’s hope it gets up soon :-))



21 Oct

Hello, the first shift of Camp Robin ended today. The other soldiers will arrive in the day and from tomorrow another gruelling 15 days will begin. The balance of the first shift is record-breaking. And the information gathered over the last two days, even with a trip abroad, gives hope for a second shift to match the first.

Last night I slept 6 hours …. I was overcome… :-)))).



Archetti, or bow traps

23 Oct

Hi, last night we left at 03.00 a.m. in the upper Val Trompia, to get around some infrared cameras we were forced to walk almost 3 hours in the dark up a very steep slope to get to the back of the hut.Carried out several searches seized 140 metres of nets and wildlife specimens. Two people were reported for hunting theft and other weapons offences. Lipu ornithologists collaborated in the seizure of dozens of skylarks in the Brescia plain. Between tonight and tomorrow we hope to acquire information that will lead to other important results.
( a little tired):-)))

26 Oct

Hello, yesterday morning after a 3-hour stakeout we managed to stop a person who had been reported on a trapping site for many days.

We confiscated 25 nets, 100 bow traps, rifles, and 150 passerines (robins, flycatchers, bramblings and dunnocks).

The other units also made several seizures and referred poachers to the magistrate.


28 Oct

Hello, today in addition to the usual reports for poaching and hunting theft, we made an arrest for illegal carrying of weapons and possession of illegal weapons. In addition, the poacher held 38 bird catching nets, thousands of cartridges, protected birds and traps of all kinds. Also seized were 40 decoy thrushes with forged rings.
In three hours I will wake up to go to two very important targets.
I will keep you informed.

30 Oct

Hello, between yesterday and today many poachers were reported, some of them very well known in Lombardy hunting circles.

A major operation will be launched in the next few hours, which we hope will lead to a positive outcome, given the hundreds of hours of work.



31 Oct

Hello, the thing that started last night materialised a few hours ago. Stopped a person on some nets, seized weapons, nets, live and frozen bird traps. Two people were also reported today and yesterday in the province of Mantua (obviously from Brescia)

Tomorrow’s day of hunting silence we will go out early on nets and traps. There are so many reports.

Greetings Mario

2 Nov

Hello, yesterday important seizures of ducks (teals) in Brescia and Mantua with 4 persons reported. And two more in Valtrompia for killing protected species.

As I write to you we have been staking out a thrushes trapping facility since 10 o’clock last night.

Night or good morning…


5 Nov

Hello, yesterday Operation Robin ended with excellent results, 130 people were reported to the magistrates.
Since yesterday, we had been following a poacher, and thanks to Lipu and CABS volunteers, about 30 minutes ago he was caught, catching thrushes with nets and electromagnetic decoys. During the search, dozens of thrushes, nets, phonofil and sprigs with mistletoe ready for use were seized.
Tomorrow night we continue.

6 Nov

Hello, all night on the heights of Lumezzane.

have brought good results. Departed the SOARDA CFs, we operate with the territorial stations. Now bedtime because tonight we go out for the last night.


7 Nov

Good evening everyone.
The Anti-poaching Camp Pettirosso in the Brescia area ended yesterday.
If anyone had ever thought that ‘it’s not like it used to be’, I am sad to report that it is probably ‘worse than it used to be’.
The Brescia area remains, by far, the worst Italian blackspot.
It has no equal.
Without wasting any time, I will summarise with a few concise numbers, what happened:

– 130 poachers reported
– 500 metres of nets seized
– 10,000 rounds of ammunition seized
– hundreds of traps seized
– thousands of decoy (capture) birds with counterfeit rings seized
– thousands of dead birds hidden in hiding places and freezers seized

This is Brescia. One must not let one’s guard down.
Far from it. Indeed, with the new government, there is an air (for them) of ‘hope’ and they have told us so to our faces on several occasions.

A huge thank you to the Operations Department of the SOARDA Carabinieri (for obvious reasons I will not list the names) who practically ‘enlisted’ me by giving me carte blanche, to the Territorial Carabinieri, to the LIPU Volunteer Guards of Rome, to Giovanni Albarella and to Luca Demartini.

My affectionate thanks, for having believed in me by sending me into ‘enemy territory’ with the utmost trust, to the President, the Board, the Director General and Claudio Celada.

Some personal numbers:

  • 35 uninterrupted days on site
  • 3 hours of average sleep per night
  • More than 7,000 km travelled by car
  • 377 km walked (from the marshes to the mountains)
  • 354 hours of lurking under camouflage sheets and leaves

You might think I’m a little tired….
Yes, I am.

But I can’t wait to leave for a new destination.
…which is already planned.
Stay tuned

A hug to all

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