From land and water tortoises to pythons, the animal rescue of ARF (Fauna Recovery Association) is specialized in recovering wild ones, perhaps injured, and exotic ones, missing. For over 10 years, many volunteers have been active in Lazio always ready to collaborate with citizens and institutions to increase knowledge and the number of interventions rescue on the territory. Sabrina Calandra, president of ARF, talks about what they do in ARF and what everyone can do.
1) When were you born and how many are you today? What kind of professionals make up your team?
ARF is a regional association in Lazio, founded in December 2002. To date we are 85 operating members in animal rescue: biologists, naturalists, industry experts and veterinarians. We all operate free of charge only; any entry goes into the crate for “Wild Injured Sos and Missing Exotics”.
2) What do you specifically deal with in the various animal rescue activities?
Our areas of expertise within the broad sector of animal rescue concern mammals, reptiles and birds belonging to the Italian fauna and protected by law 157 of 1992 and by the various Directives and Conventions for the protection of minor fauna. Furthermore, we take care of the rescue of all the animals that are commonly sold as unconventional pets - everything that is not dogs, cats and working animals and that are regularly found missing in the Lazio territory due to accidental abandonment or escape. We recover them and, where possible by law, we have them adopted. For the pond turtles for 8 years now we have implemented an adoption service that takes us all over Italy to take these animals and place them in semi-freedom after a period of adaptation. The system works very well and around 400 turtles are adopted every year.
3) Are there animals "not to be recovered"? Because?
The recoveries not to be made are basically divided into two: those that should not be done because the animal seems in difficulty but in fact it is not and those that we cannot do due to managerial impossibility, not falling within our competence. The situations of animal rescue where they mistakenly seem needy are the classic ones of nocturnal birds of prey, hares and fawns, hedgehogs, just to name a few. The nocturnal birds of prey finish weaning on the ground: despite having the appearance of needy wads, they must be left there. Hares and fawns do not make lairs in holes or caves, the young are left camouflaged in the green and therefore are not dispersed, quite the opposite: the parent knows where the cub is and periodically returns to him to bring food. The hedgehogs of a litter are left in a small hollow on the ground or between piles of wood and should never be moved: the mother would abandon them.
4) What are your animal rescue interventions for turtles?
It depends on the species. The American marshes follow a path of adoption. The marine ones are immediately brought in recovery centers specialized such as that of Talamone or Naples. For the terrestrial ones, however, the discourse is broader: many are owned and should have the identification microchip. Unfortunately not all are kept in a legally correct way and when they escape or are lost it becomes difficult to find the owner but they cannot be released because they are accustomed to captivity so they must be taken to a recovery center. On the laws that protect the Italian species of land tortoises there is really a lot of ignorance, often illegal detention is incurred for simple lack of information.
5) What are the exotic animals that most frequently happen to help you?
Certainly the most frequent animal rescue it is that of the land and water tortoises, followed by pythons and iguanas and small rodent mammals such as guinea pigs, gerbils, degus.
6) Do you organize animal rescue courses?
Yes, and all our courses are aimed at the knowledge of the correct management of pet animals and the recovery e rescue wild and domestic animals unconventional. Everything that revolves around their well-being is being studied by the ARF. The courses are open to all; depending on the target that is reached for a course, we can deepen the subject so that it can interest a purely specialized audience or stay on an amateur approach. We are very versatile in this precisely because we care that everyone can access information and grow with us.
7) Do you have collaborations with local administrations? With other organizations / associations? With private individuals?
To date, the collaborations of animal rescue we have more profitable and structured with the State Forestry Corps with which a memorandum of understanding was signed. Obviously, our total availability remains towards the citizen who contacts us, the first user of our volunteer activity.
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