Centro Studi BioNaturalistici s.r.l. - WILDLIFE Research - Management - Conservation

Centro Emys di Leca d'Albenga (SV)

In Liguria (NW Italy), Emys orbicularis was commonly found along the west coast until 1970, with historical presence confirmed by museum specimens only in the Province of Savona (Salvidio et al., 2006). However, in the last twenty years, this species was considered extinct in the wild. The causes of its disappearance were mainly due to habitat loss and modification (Andreotti, 1994). Furthermore, the presence of invasive species,fishing activities, water table lowering and the water pollution contributed to the decrease of this species. Recently, few small and isolated populations were discovered in the Albenga plain (Jesu et al., 2000, 2004). These native populations are recognized deserving priority conservation actions at the Regional level. Therefore since 2000, a restoration and breeding program (link: http://old.provincia.savona.it/utilita/emys/progetto.htm) was implemented by different public Authorities, private entities, NGOs and volunteers (Province of Savona,  University of Genova, Corpo Forsetale dello Stato, Genoa Aquarium, WWF Liguria, Pro Natura Genova). A LIFE+ Nature project was co-financed in the 2013 by the EU Community (LIFE EMYS - LIFE12 NAT/IT/000395 - www.lifeemys.eu). This project is developed with many others actions such as the removal and management of allochthonous freshwater chelonians, veterinary protocols, comunications. Despite the initials difficulties, mainly due to problems with the power grid which led to problems with the artificial incubation of eggs, the ex-situ breeding center is now well equipped with a number of hacthlings comprised between 50 and 70 per year. Since the 2000 more than 400 animals hatched in the facility and 194 specimens were released in Natura 2000 protected areas. The annual survival of released E. orbicularis is site-dependent.  Based on first recapture data, survival is estimated to be almost 70% in relatively isolated ponds and 30% in stream habitats. These first monitoring results suggest that the populations are demographically increasing but still highly endangered. Cesbin srl staff  work closely with the management and monitoring carried out by the "Centro Emys".

Address Regione Isolabella 1, Albenga (SV)

Contacts dario.ottonello@studionatura.net

References

Andeotti A. (1994). Testuggine palustre Emys orbicularis. (pag. 72-73). In: Doria G. Salvidio S. (eds.). Atlante degli anfibi e rettili della Liguria. Cataloghi dei beni naturali n° 2, Regione Liguria, NuovaLitoeffe, Castelvetro Piacentino, 151 pp.

Jesu R., Mamone A., Lamagni L. & Ortale S. (2000). Nuovi dati sulla presenza del pelodite punteggiato (Pelodytes punctatus) e della testuggine palustre europea (Emys orbicularis) in Liguria. In: Giacoma C. – Atti I Congresso Nazionale Societas Herpetologica Italica, Mus. Reg. Sc. Nat. Torino: 611-618.

Jesu R., Piombo R., Salvidio S., Lamagni L., Ortale S. & Genta P. (2004). Un nuovo taxon di Testuggine palustre endemico della Liguria occidentale: Emys orbicularis ingauna n. ssp. (Reptilia, Emydidae). In: Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale “G. Doria”, Genova, 96: 133-192.

Ottonello D., Jesu, R., Genta P., Ortale S., Lamagni L., Salvidio S. (2010). Il “progetto Emys”: dieci anni di conservazione di Emys orbicularis in Liguria. In: Atti VIII Congresso della Societas Herpetologica Italica. (Chieti, 2010), Ianeri Edizioni, Pescara: 473-476.

Salvidio S., Ottonello D., Jesu R., Ortale S., Genta P. (2006). Piano d’azione per la testuggine palustre ingauna (Emys orbicularis ingauna). Pp. 99. Allegato alla Deliberazione della Giunta Provinciale n. 157- del 01/08/2006.

Others papers linked to the project

Canessa S., Ottonello D., Salvidio S. (2014). Population modelling to assess supplementation strategies for the European pond terrapin Emys orbicularis in Liguria. X Congresso Nazionale della Societas Herpetologica Italica, Ottobre 2014, Genova (Italy).

Ottonello D., Salvidio S., Oneto F., Jesu R., Gili C., Gnone G., Lamagni L., Ortale S., Genta P (2014=. Conservation of Emys orbicularis in Liguria (NW Italy).Herpetological Facts Journal. 2014, 1. ISSN 2256-0327. Supplement 1: Proceedings of the 2 international Scientific Conference – Workshop “Research and conservation of European herpetofauna and its environment:Bombina bombina, Emys orbicularis, and Coronella austriaca” (Daugavpils, Latvia).

Manfredi T., Bellavita M., Ottonello D., Zuffi MAL., Carlino P., Chelazzi G., D'Angelo S., Di Tizio l., Fritz U., Lo Valvo M., Marini G., Orrù F., Scali S., Sperone E., Ciofi C. (2013). Analisi preliminari sulla divergenza genetica e filogeografia delle popolazioni Italiane della testuggine palustre Europea Emys orbicularis. II Congresso SHI Abruzzo Molise "Testuggini e Tartarughe", Pescara; 01/2013.

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