Amphibians and reptiles are among the animal groups most affected by habitat destruction, alteration and fragmentation, land use and invasive alien species. Many species are threatened and in unfavourable conservation status, and they are therefore protected and listed in the annexes of the European “Habitats” Directive. These include the Italian agile frog (Rana latastei), the Italian crested newt (Triturus carnifex), the Italian spadefoot (Pelobates fuscus insubricus), the yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata), the alpine salamander (Salamandra atra) and the European pond terrapin (Emys orbicularis). In order to improve their conservation status, the project LIFE14 IPE/IT/018 – GESTIRE 2020 includes the preparation of a plan of priority activities to be developed especially in areas falling within the Natura 2000 network (action A14). The plan is based on an analysis of the status and threats to the populations of the six identified species. The analysis will involve the management bodies of 60 Natura 2000 sites where the species are located in Lombardy and will be conducted by WWF Italia with the support of the Regional Experimental Station for the study and conservation of amphibians of the Lake Endine. The plan will be drawn up by the first half of 2018 and implemented in the next phase through activities to be carried out with funds from LIFE14 IPE/IT/018 – GESTIRE 2020 (action C10) or through complementary funds (RDP – EAFRD funds, Green Areas Funds – art.43 of regional law 12/2005, Cariplo Foundation calls for tender). The involvement and training of volunteers is also foreseen (associations, GEV – voluntary ecological guards…) in monitoring, controlling the areas involved and in their management in the follow-up of the activities.
During 2016, two training initiatives have been organized at the WWF oasis of Trezzo, in the Northern Adda Regional Park, and Bine, in South Oglio Regional Park.
The actions for the protection of amphibians and reptiles included in the LIFE14 IPE/IT/018 – 2020 GESTIRE provide for public information initiatives, to raise awareness on the threats to these vulnerable and endangered animals.