The Provincial Council of Álava has suspended the 14-day permit given to hunters in the region to find and hunt the last Iberian wolf that lives in the historical territory. This was announced by the associations Ekologistak Martxan and Grupo Lobo, who explained that the suspension is due to the announcement of the Basque Government that this species will be included in the Basque Catalog of Endangered Species.
The #Wolf will be cataloged in the #Basque Country which is an unprecedented fact for the population of this species in #Spain The administrative and judicial pressure we have exercised has paid off, although we are dissatisfied with this.https://t.co/qqH5PtFbX1 pic.twitter.com/b7lisy5QFm
– Lobo Euskadi Group (@loboeuskadi) February 6, 2020
The permit granted by the Provincial Council, which gave 14 days to find the animal and end its life, was motivated by the pressures of the livestock sector in the area, which had denounced that the animal, along with its former partner, who is believed dead , killed or injured 200 animals only last year. The average exceeds the hunting of a farm animal every two days, so these data have always created some controversy in the environmental sectors in social networks, where there are those who point out that it is unlikely that a pair of wolves is so voracious .
“Special interest” category
The Department of Environment of the Basque Government has announced that it will include the wolf (canis lupus) in the Basque Catalog of Endangered Species (CVEA) with the category of “special interest”, the lowest level of protection, which implies the elaboration of management, monitoring and surveillance plans in which the delegations and the agents involved will participate.
As explained, this level of protection, which it is applied in Euskadi to a total of 89 species, will place the wolf at the level of the wildcat, the ermine, the common hawk or the kingfisher, and will involve the development of management and monitoring plans on existing populations and their coexistence with the livestock sector.
The Department of Environment has indicated that it has made this decision after carry out a “thorough study” to determine if inclusion is appropriate of this species in the Catalog and with what category.
The Catalog establishes four protection categories, according to the risk situation of each species: ” endangered “, which is the maximum degree,” vulnerable “,” rare “or” special interest “.
In the aforementioned study, the reports of the provincial councils, institutions that have the competences in the management of wildlife in Euskadi, such as the information provided by the Lobo Euskadi Group. The Government also recalled that the EU considers the wolf a species of community interest and has it listed in the Habitats Directive.
The European Commission maintains the position of seeking all possible measures to enable the coexistence of the species in European territory with the livestock sector. These measures can be subsidized such as the grouping and protection of flocks, electric fences, well-trained mastiffs, among others.
In this regard, he recalled that in the State the wolf is considered a threatened species in the southern half of Spain below the Duero line and the different Communities are taking measures “depending on their realities”.
In addition, Brussels has recently announced its willingness to subsidize public compensation for livestock damage caused by wolf attacks, payments that the Provinces of Alava and Bizkaia have been making for years with their own budgets.
In view of all these considerations, the Department of the Environment has concluded that l wolf does not have in Euskadi the consideration of species “endangered” and, therefore, it is not appropriate to include them in a category reserved for those whose survival is unlikely if the causal factors of their current situation continue to act, but rather in that of “special interest”.
It’s about those deserving of particular attention based on its scientific, ecological, cultural value or its uniqueness. This level of protection will involve the elaboration of management, monitoring and surveillance plans, which will be carried out through a participation process in which the Provincials and all the agents involved will take part.
The Naturzaintza Council is formed by the departments of Environment and Economic Development and Infrastructure of the Basque Government, a representative of each of the Provincial Councils, of the University of the Basque Country, of nature conservation associations, of agricultural organizations , from EUDEL for each Historical Territory and forestry associations, as well as several people of known prestige in the field of the environment.