Information - Awareness Campaign

In Greece, the use of specially trained dogs to detect poison baits started in 2014, as part of the LIFE+ EU funded project “The Return of the Neophron”. That year, two specially trained dogs from Spain were acquired to form part of the country’s first Anti-poison Dog Units. As soon as they arrived in Greece, the two dogs went immediately into action; the one as part of the anti-poison dog unit established by the Hellenic Ornithological Society / BirdLife Greece in Meteora and the other one as part of WWF Greece anti-poison dog unit in Dadia.

They were followed by two more units with specially trained dogs formed by the Natural History Museum of Crete in collaboration with the First Hunting Federation of Crete & Dodecanese, under the “Innovations Against the Illegal Use of Poison Baits” project. Three more dogs were acquired a few years later, as part of the LIFE Bonelli eastMed project.
In 2017, the Hellenic ORNITHOLOGICAL Society acquired the first dog for the detection of poison baits which was exclusively trained in Greece.

σκύλος ανίχνευσης detection dog
“Cookie” in Meteora, the 1st dog-detector of poisoned baits in the country

The operational status of the Anti-poison Dog Units is legally recognized and more specifically, their action is referred to in the Joint Ministerial Decision for the drafting of Local Action Plans for the prevention of the use of poison baits. The anti-poison trained dogs are recognized as working dogs, according to the Act 4830/2021, which defines the framework concerning the welfare of domestic animals.

In 2002, having recognized the necessity, usefulness and effectiveness of these dog units, NECCA proceeded with the acquisition of seven (7) such dogs, each one comprising the corresponding anti-poison Dog Units.

Anti-poison Dog Units’ acquisition as well as the operational needs were financed from the Organization’s own resources but also with the contribution of the TIESD (Transport, Infrastructure, Environment and Sustainable Development) perational Programme 2014-2020 & the LIFE ARCPROM project “Improving the conditions for the coexistence of brown bears and humans in 4 National Parks of S. Europe”. Henceforth, for the first time in Greece, working dogs are included in the workforce of a public sector Agency, in the service of biodiversity protection.

As of 2024, 12 Anti-poison Dog Units, staffed with 13 specially trained dogs, are currently patrolling in the field in Greece, as part of the action of both NECCA and other private entities.