Hunting of Iberian wolf is immediately banned in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
Iberian wolf hunting banned

MADRID – The hunting of the Iberian wolf has been definitively banned throughout Spain with effect from September 22. While the decision has been widely endorsed by scientific committees and environmental groups, some Spanish regions are seeking to challenge the decision in court. 

On Tuesday, the hunting ban of the Ministry of Ecological Transition was published in the Spanish Official Gazette (BOE). As a result of this hunting ban, the Iberian wolf has been definitively included as a protected species according to the LESPRE protection protocol. 

Two additional provisions for Iberian wolf hunting ban 

However, the Ministry adds two additional provisions to this ban. Firstly, the hunt for a specific wolf species may continue if an autonomous organisation has given its approval. This is only the case when there is no other solution to protect livestock from wolves in the area concerned. It must also be demonstrated the capture of the species has no negative consequences for the conservation of the species. 

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Secondly, a strategy for the conservation and management of the Iberian wolf will be established by December 31, 2021. This will be announced on the website of the Ministry of Ecological Transition. 

Four Spanish regions appeal against decision 

Shortly after the announcement of the hunting ban, the regional authorities of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and Castile and León announced they would appeal this ban through the courts. No less than 95% of all Iberian wolves live in these regions. The regional president of Galicia said he regretted this decision. Especially because there was hardly any dialogue between the Spanish government and the hunters’ associations. 

The Ministry wants to provide a new legal framework to equalise the level of protection of the wolf throughout Spain. Therefore, the government is advocating preventive measures and compensation options. This is to prevent and limit damage as a result of attacks on livestock farms. The Scientific Committee supports the government’s decision because the stagnation of the wolf population is the result of a high non-natural death rate affecting the Iberian wolf. 

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