URCA  (URgent Conservation Actions pro Emys orbicularis in Italiy and Slovenia) PROEMYS the project to improve the conservation status of the native pond terrapins  Emys orbicularis in Italy and Slovenia through a long-term programme.

The numbers:


Breeding centres


Natura 2000 sites involved


Restocking sites


Young terrapins released into the wild


Sites involved in habitat restoration

LIFE URCA PROEMYS project and the Natura 2000 sites

The project aims to improve the conservation status of the European pond terrapin Emys orbicularis; a protected species, included in Annexes II and IV of the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC, whose trade is prohibited by the 1979 Bern Convention.

The project involves 55 Italian and Slovenian Natura 2000 sites where the European pond terrapin is present.

Habitat restoration, restocking activities, eradication of Invasive Alien Species and monitoring are planned at these sites.

The partnership includes a number of Natura 2000 site management bodies; this will facilitate the achievement of results and, in particular, the increase in the presence of Emys orbicularis, thanks to the reintroduction and restoration of suitable habitats, capable of sustaining viable populations, even after the end of the project.

At least 30 Natura 2000 sites will benefit from the habitat restoration measures. As far as restocking is concerned, the selection of point sites within the sites will also be based on the criteria described in the Integrated Management Plan and the sharing of the following parameters

1) species habitat

2) aquatic habitats protected on the basis of the Natura 2000 classification (All. I, Directive 92/43/EEC)

What is established in the Integrated Management Plan, elaborated within the project, will be applied, from the beginning, in all the Natura 2000 sites (Italian and Slovenian) involved in the project. The LIFE URCA PROEMYS project is based on a clear conservation strategy of the WWF Oasis system established to monitor species and habitats of Community interest in the Oases belonging to the Natura 2000 Network and on an approach consistent with the philosophy of the Natura 2000 Network in promoting projects on “target” species or habitats by the different area managers.

News and events

10-12 April 2024; monitoring visit successfully completed

From 10 to 12 April, the periodic monitoring visit of the Life Urca Proemys project was held in Slovenia. During this meeting, the project partners met together with the monitor, who supervised the work, to present the actions undertaken and the results achieved so far. The event included two stimulating field visits, the first to the Sečovlje Salina Natural Park

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Meeting on alien pond terrapins management

On 21 March, an important discussion on the management of alien pond terrapins species took place at the University of Milano Statale. Jointly organised by Life URCA PROEMYS and the University of Berne, it brought together the experiences of veterinarians, universities and active managers of exotic tortoises in CRAS and regional Conservation Centres to try to define sustainable and applicable

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A new pond at Oasis I Valloni

At the WWF Oasis I Valloni (Albenga, SV), a new pond of about 600 m2 has been created, ready to welcome the pond turtles Emys obicularis, whose presence is now at risk due to various threats, including the destruction of their habitat. The latest rains have completed the filling of the reservoir, which is rapidly being renaturalised; the first Rana dalmatina eggs have been observed and the first tortoises are expected to bask in the sun soon…

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