In 2013 the surprise jumped: the Sierra Carpetania conservation group recorded the evolutions in the southern slope of the Guadarrama mountain range of two adults (alpha couple), a subadult and four puppies. The wolf had returned to breed in the Community of Madrid, after 70 years disappeared due to the persecution to which the species was subjected throughout Spain. Now, five years later, there are "at least five established herds, being conservative, and the number of copies ranges from 35 to 40," says Luis del Olmo, general director of Environment and Sustainability. These are the latest data produced by a study commissioned by the regional government and led by Juan Carlos Blanco, a biologist and expert on wolves. It shows the progress of the canid that "goes slowly, but surely and is already consolidated in the community," adds Del Olmo, who makes a "positive" reading of the increase.
"Before they were in the limit of the Sierra Madrileña with other communities such as Segovia or Ávila where they have also spread, "explains Blanco, but now the animals have advanced somewhat towards the interior of the province," they are not so on the edge and there are other places where their presence is habitual and is likely to be "The reason for this progression is due to the push from neighboring territories where they have become abundant again." They spread like an oil stain from the edge of their distribution area, "the scientist clarifies.
In Madrid, the canids have found a strip in the north, west and southwest of the region with a population density of approximately 10 inhabitants per square kilometer, where they have found the right conditions. The zone, in spite of its proximity with the capital, maintains a still privileged habitat, that allows the establishment of this and other species. From oaks to meadows, pine forests, bushes ... and with an abundance of ungulates such as roe deer, as well as wild boar, diet that the canid combines with attacks on livestock.
Their progress stops at the moment they reach territories with greater population density, where they run into the network of roads that surround Madrid and there are abuses. In 13 months five people have been killed for this reason, the last on March 14 in the municipality of Madarcos. The other corpses appeared in the vicinity of the N-I, near Buitrago; between El Escorial and Guadarrama next to the Valley of the Fallen and between Soto del Real and Guadalix. "The roads are going to become the main regulator of the population, because it is impossible to avoid accidents," says Blanco. The health of the Madrid wolves, except for the abuses, is good. "We have seen some cases of mange, but nothing worrisome and the same can be detected in other bordering provinces such as Avila or Segovia," clarifies the biologist.
The farmers, however, clamor for a balance between wolf and cattle. The aggressions to the cattle hut show the same growing tendency as the species. If in 2013, the year in which it was detected that it returned to raise in Madrid, there were 15 attacks, in 2016 they had risen to 213 and last year to 398. The compensations have grown at par. In 2014, 40,000 euros were budgeted to compensate for damages to livestock, which have increased to 300,000 euros in 2019, indicate sources from the Ministry of Environment and Planning.
Alfredo Berrocal, president of UGAMA (employers of farmers and farmers of Madrid), which keeps its cows loose in spring and summer in the Sierra del Guadarrama National Park, maintains that the regional government "has not done anything". "The first thing we have to know is the reality of the wolf, how many are and where they move, because now we are completely blind," he complains. He also asks for preventive measures "in the event that he can", because, for example, with his cows it is impossible. "It's simpler with the flocks of sheep and goats, because they can be kept at night," he clarifies. The compensation seems completely inadequate. "It has already been proven in sentences that we have been recognized three times more than they pay us for the loss of animals." Because it is not only that they kill them, but there are indirect damages such as lost profits, loss of zeal, the time required to complete the administrative file ... ", Berrocal enumerates.
In the new scenario, "the farmers will have to accept that some loss occurs, but not that there are attacks every two days as it happens now," clarifies. Because, "what can not be said is that the more wolves the better, the human presence distorts nature and regulation is necessary and if we have to eliminate a wolf that has taken the habit of attacking, we will have to do it". The general manager of Medio Natural admits that it is necessary to open "a frank debate and see what shortcomings exist and what measures work".