COORNATA - Development of coordinated protection measures for Apennine Chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata)

LIFE09 NAT/IT/000183

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Teodoro ANDRISANO
Tel: +39 0864 2570403
Fax: +39 0864 2570450
Email: info@parcomajella.it

Project description:


The Apennine chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata), one of the rarest species in Italy, is listed in Annexes II and IV of the Habitats Directive and as a subspecies at risk of extinction in the IUCN Red List. It is defined as “vulnerable” by the IUCN/SSC Caprinae Specialist Group, as a “specially protected” species under Italian legislation, and it is the only subspecies of the Rupicapra genus included in the CITES list (Annex II).The main threat to the Apennine chamois comes from the low number and small size of its populations, and their low genetic variability. The source population of the Apennine chamois is in the Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise National Park (ALMNP), but this population has decreased in recent years (only 518 individuals were counted in 2009). In the Monti Sibillini National Park the number of Apennine chamois is less than the minimum viable population size (30 individuals), creating the threat of inbreeding.


The overall aim of the COORNATA project was the long-term conservation of the Apennine chamois, an endangered species of goat-antelope or caprid. along the Central Apennines. The project aimed to establish five geographically isolated colonies of Apennine chamois in five parks, namely the ALMNP, the Majella National Park (MNP), the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park (GSLNP), the Monti Sibillini National Park (MSNP) and the Sirente Velino Regional Park (SVRP). The project planned to relocate at least 12 Apennine chamois from the MNP and the GSLNP into the MSNP, to bring the population there up to the minimum viable size.


The COORNATA project implemented measures to ensure the long-term conservation of the Apennine chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata), along the Central Apennines in Italy. Concrete project actions contributed to the establishment of five geographically isolated colonies of Apennine chamois in four National Parks and one Regional Park, comprising in total more than 2 000 individuals.

The project tested different capture techniques to move individuals, with some methods (e.g. box traps and up-net traps) being tested for the first time on Apennine chamois. The project’s innovative box trap was modified in comparison with similar boxes used elsewhere, a method that can be replicated in similar areas. Apennine chamois were captured for the first time in the Majella National Park (MNP) and in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park (GSLNP). The number of Apennine chamois captured and then released in the Monti Sibillini National Park (MSNP) bought that population up to the minimum viable size of 30 individuals. Thirteen captured Apennine chamois were also released in the Sirente Velino Regional Park (SVRP) to establish a new colony in that park. New-born Apennine chamois were observed in the first summer season after the releases, proving the success of the operation. The project analysed the threats affecting the population in the Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise National Park (ALMNP), by monitoring individuals (markings, radio-tracking with GPS collars), faecal pellets (for parasites), and interactions with red deer (feeding overlap). A specific action plan for this park was drawn up and approved for the ALMNP. The project team put in place procedures to ensure the long-term sustainability of the achieved results, for example, with all project partners committed to continuing activities to maintain the new colony in the SVRP; while a framework for the shared management of the target species was established. For the first time, the parks involved in the conservation of Apennine chamois worked together and shared technical documents including a unique database. The parks are starting to use the same approach for other threatened Italian species.

Phyto-therapeutic products used for the first time in all the parks, except the ALMNP, for the treatment of endo-parasitic infestations of livestock. Activities carried out to improve the sanitary management of livestock, to prevent risk to Apennine chamois, also enabled the project to increase the awareness of livestock breeders about conservation issues. A local association of breeders (‘Associazione allevatori del Parco’) was established in the Sirente Velino Regional Park to help improve sanitary management of livestock.

Project actions increased the environmental awareness of the general public, tourists and students in local schools. The project produced an educational 30-minute film on DVD (‘Il camoscio più bello del mondo’), information boards and brochures, and also reached experts and scientific researchers through publications, workshops, and conference presentations. The project publications were made readily available on its website (www.coornata.eu).

The project represents a continuation of the activities started in two previous LIFE projects (LIFE97 NAT/IT/004143 and LIFE02 NAT/IT/008538). The establishment of the isolated Apennine chamois colonies is in compliance with the National Action Plan, which was renewed thanks to the project’s contribution, and with the IUCN Caprinae Plan. The project also contributes to the implementation of the Habitats and Bird Directives, and the EU2020 Biodiversity Strategy.

The conservation of Apennine chamois is also relevant for the conservation of the secondary high mountain meadows, due to the species’ grazing activities helping prevent shrub encroachment. This consequently benefits species (e.g. birds, orchids) linked to the mountain meadow habitats, including the wider trophic network that encompasses predators, coprophagous entomofauna and necrophagous organisms.

The Apennine chamois is an attractive animal appreciated by the general public and mountain hikers, so bringing populations to new mountain areas benefits tourism. Thanks to the project, the Monti Sibillini National Park, where Apennine chamois has been reintroduced, organised a programme entitled "Chamois hotel", with discounts available to volunteers participating in ongoing annual chamois activities, such as the species’ census. The project’s final conference included a session on eco-tourism.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Conservation Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Mammals


endangered species‚  natural park‚  nature conservation‚  mountainous area

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...

Target species

 Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata     

Natura 2000 sites

SPA IT7110128 Parco Nazionale Gran Sasso - Monti della Laga
SPA IT7110130 Sirente Velino
SPA IT7120132 Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise ed aree limitrofe
SPA IT7140129 Parco Nazionale della Maiella
SCI IT5330004 Monte Bove
SCI IT6050018 Cime del Massiccio della Meta
SCI IT6050020 Val Canneto
SPA IT5330029 Dalla Gola del Fiastrone al Monte Vettore
SCI IT7110202 Gran Sasso
SCI IT7110205 Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo
SCI IT7110206 Monte Sirente e Monte Velino
SCI IT7140203 Maiella



Type of organisation Park-Reserve authority
Description The Majella National Park, one of Italy's most important national parks, was established in 1991. Situated in the southern-central part of the country, it oversees nature protection activities on some 74 000 ha of land.
Partners Legambiente, Italy Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise National Park, Italy Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park, Italy Monti Sibillini National Park, Italy Sirente Velino Regional Park, Italy


Project reference LIFE09 NAT/IT/000183
Duration 01-SEP-2010 to 30-SEP -2014
Total budget 3,141,756.00 €
EU contribution 2,262,064.00 €
Project location Umbria(Italia) Marche(Italia) Lazio(Italia) Abruzzo(Italia) Molise(Italia)


Read more:

Brochure "Il camoscio più bello del mondo : opuscolo illustrativo (Action D.4)" (8.88 MB)
Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Conservation Plan After-LIFE Conservation Plan
Publication: Layman report Layman report (Italian version)
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Proceedings "Chamois international congress : proceedings : De ...
Publication: Technical report Project's Final technical report


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version