LIFE URCA PROEMYS aims to improve the conservation status of the native pond terrapins Emys orbicularis in Italy and Slovenia, maintaining the genetic diversity of existing populations.
In order to improve the conditions of the natural habitats where this species lives, it is planned to restore at least 30 selected sites, covering a total area of 9 hectares including different types of wetlands, marshes, river areas, wooded or coastal dunes and floodplains in the two countries involved. A recovery that will also promote the conservation of other threatened reptile and amphibian species.
In order to combat the presence of alien species that pose a threat to the survival of Emys orbicularis, the project envisages an action to control the invasive alien species Trachemys scripta in 39 Natura 2000 sites in Italy and 3 in Slovenia, through the capture of specimens and their fostering in specialized centres.
Another action foreseen in the project is the restocking in the wild in at least 13 sites. Repopulation activities will be implemented with great scientific rigor and preventive genetic surveys will be carried out, in order to ensure the integrity and variability of the populations and to preserve the genetic diversity of the native populations of Italy and Slovenia.
The restocking will be promoted, thanks to the breeding activities in a controlled environment of 7 breeding centres that will be suitably reinforced.
Alongside these activities, an important specialized training activity will be structured, both in the correct conservation of Emys orbicularis and in the restoration of natural habitats.
The information gathered through the various actions envisaged by the project will make it possible to develop an Integrated Management Plan on a regional scale at first, and then on a national and cross-border scale, between Italy and Slovenia, which will guarantee the proper management of this species in all the territories where it is present, also fostering its long-term conservation through a monitoring programme of the populations in the wild.
The participation of so many partners and the involvement of numerous areas in different territories is particularly important from this point of view because it will allow the development of good practices, that can be replicated in other territories, multiplying the effectiveness of the conservation project.
Moreover, an important part of LIFE URCA PROEMYS concerns the action of information and awareness-raising for the general public, the communities living near the reintroduction sites and all the stakeholders involved in the project, with the aim of informing them on the correct behaviour to use in protected natural contexts and to discourage the release of alien species that pose a serious threat to native species.
LIFE URCA PROEMYS is articulated through actions that are developed in an interconnected manner throughout the project’s duration; these actions are grouped into “workpackages” with the involvement of all partners, based on their different competences and roles.
Start: October 2022
End: September 2027