Italy - Lega Italiana Protezione Uccelli (LIPU)
Mission of the organisation
LIPU strives to protect wildlife with a particular focus on wild birds and their habitats, and through this works for the conservation of biodiversity, the growth of public awareness and environmental education, and the sustainable use of natural resources.
The programme is organised into four main areas:
- Species protection;
- Sites and habitat conservation;
- Public awareness and education;
- Lobbying and policies;
- Anti-poaching actions against the trapping of migrant passerines and illegal shooting of birds of prey have been very successful. These have involved volunteers in concrete action and also increased public awareness. The local branches are active in schools, coordinated by the Education Department;
- About 100,000 paying individuals a year visit LIPU’s reserves (we call them "oases") and education centres, which play a key role within our conservation education programme;
- At the Carloforte Oasis, an outstanding section of cliff in south-east Sardinia, tourists can watch a colony of more than 100 breeding pairs of Eleonora’s Falcon through telescopes and with the guidance of a warden;
- The Oases of Torrile near Parma is a re-created marsh, renowned for over 100 breeding pairs of Black-winged Stilt, can be easily seen from the hides;
- The "Seabird Rescue Centre" in Tuscany and several "Bird of Prey" or "Urban Birds" Rehabilitation Centres reach many people through symbolic "adopt a bird" schemes or public releases of rehabilitated birds in LIPU reserves. National events and intensive press campaigns play a major role in spreading LIPU’s message countrywide;
- Conservation projects have been carried out on White Stork, Red Kite, Lesser Kestrel, Audouin’s Gull and White-headed duck. The only wild breeding colony of Griffon Vulture was restocked with Spanish birds, and in 10 years has developed from 18 to 41 pairs. National campaigns on legislation have gained the support of hundreds of thousands of Italians and have obtained: more rigorous hunting laws, a reduced list of hunting species and a shorter hunting season; a new law on Protected Areas; and gazetting of new Reserves and National Parks, including many IBAs. A very successful "swallow and agriculture campaign" is under way, related to the BirdLife Agricultural Task Force objectives;
- The attitude of Italians towards wildlife has changed dramatically in the last thirty years. In 1970 there were over 2 million hunters and 3% of protected landscape. Now we have less than 800,000 hunters;
- Reserves and centres will continue to be a central area of LIPU’s future development, as well as public awareness and management.
- Collected 130,000 signatures to support political lobby on agricultural practices;
- Set up a centre to monitor agriculture management actions near Rome;
- Opened four new reserves, bringing the LIPU total to 47 reserves, and managed five bird hospitals. Increased membership by around 11% to more than 30,000.
- Collected 100,000 signatures to support the European campaign against the illegal extension of the hunting season in France;
- Gained two new reserves, bringing the area managed by LIPU in reserves to 7,000 ha;
- Continued with White Stork, White-headed Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Corncrake and Eleonora's Falcon conservation and monitoring programmes, a Griffon Vulture project in Sicily and a new "roads and birds" project;
- Continued to lobby for IBAs to be designated as SPAs. 90 out of a total of 192 IBAs are now designated in this way;
- Continued to take action against illegal hunters and poachers: LIPU now has 70 voluntary ecological police;
- Was active in the media with an estimated 12 million Italians contacted;
- Progressed an international Barn Swallow project in collaboration with NCF (BirdLife in Nigeria).