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December 2019

The LIFE PERDIX Project – Reintroduction of the Italian Grey Partridge in Italy

Currently considered as extinct in the wild, the Italian grey partridge (Perdix perdix italica) is at the center of the LIFE Perdix Project launched in January 2019. This EU project aims to create an Italian grey partridge breeding and reintroduction programme in view of ensuring a viable population within the Valle del Mezzano Natura 2000 site, a Special Protection Area (SPA) of about 18.000 hectares in Northern Italy. By recovering and conserving the genetic heritage, the project aims to implement the best management and health techniques in order to ensure the species’ survival.

The Italian Hunting Federation – in particular its Research and Studies Office – gave the greatest contribution in terms of concept, proposal, design and it is currently one of the most active project partners on the ground. The French National Hunters’ Federation is also part of the consortium.

Because of the ambitious objectives of the project, it is important to engage the local stakeholders and citizens in the conservation process through monitoring initiatives, education and awareness. Therefore, Italian hunters are happy to collaborate directly on a project centered on the grey partridge – a species that is a flagship for hunting and conservation – by:

  • working with the ISPRA (Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research) in the genetic selection and breeding of grey partridges,
  • managing the reintroduction operations in the Mezzano area,
  • coordinating the activities aimed at improving their habitats (e.g. monitoring, predator control).

It is important to mention that this initiative is the second to address the grey partridge after the INTERREG project “PARTRIDGE” (2016-2023) in the North Sea Region, a project assigned to the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust. The difference with the LIFE Perdix Project is that not only do they aim to reintroduce the partridge in a territory where it disappeared in the early 1990s, but they also genetically recovering a subspecies that was official declared extinct in the wild.

More information and communication materials about the LIFE Perdix Project can be found on its official website: http://www.lifeperdix.eu/?lang=en