Early this month a member of the public alerted the police in Portugal for a dead fox near a public footpath near Pinhel, just outside the LIFE RUPIS intervention area. Upon inspection, a dead fox, and a dying azure-winged magpie, were found, near some baits (rests of meat and pork ears). All signs pointed to poisoning: the magpie was found with seizures, with contracted feet and muscles, while the fox was in a good condition. Subsequent post-mortems realised at CERVAS, a Wildlife rehabilitation centre in nearby Gouveia, indeed suggested poisoning, probably by carbamates, notably because of haemorrhages in several organs and contracted mouth and mandibles. Samples from the key organs were then sent to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Lisbon, for further analysis, to try to determine the poisoning agent, under the LIFE RUPIS project.
The use of poison continues to threat vultures and other wildlife in Portugal. The LIFE RUPIS is expected to give new impetus and capacity to fight this threat, with establishment of an anti-poisoning dog team in this region, that is now under training and is going to be deployed soon. Members of the public can also help, by calling the SOS ambiente number – 808 200 520 when they see any suspected case.