The mountainous region of Asturias, with one million hectares, is one of the most biodiverse regions in Europe. Its wildlife lives in natural areas of great beauty and biological value. However, there are some species like the wolf who have fallen on tragedy. The regional government of Asturias has applied a management policy based solely killing individual wolves without any scientific data.
Dozens of wolves, an estimated 6, of a total population of no more than 200 individuals, are killed each year, legally or illegally in the territory of Asturias.
This massacre due to policies that favor livestock in the mountains. In particular, it is to facilitate the collection of agri-environment subsidies, aid from the European Union at the same time as maintaining the commitment to protect biodiversity, especially species like the wolf that are key species for maintaining the balance of wildlife in mountain environments.
The strong social pressure has influenced politicians to make the decision to kill wolves without any scientific reference. It is indiscriminate killing, ANY individual wolf is killed whether it is an adult or young, male or female . Furthermore, the regional government refuses to approve or support scientific research in order to try and find solutions to wolf attacks on livestock.
Organizations like FAPAS have requested authorization to capture wolves and radio collar them in order to better understand the ecology of the species in this enviroment. No authorization has been given and the Asturias government only authorizes killing them. In recent months, the social debate has been intense. It has been discovered that there is a web of deceit, by farmers and administrators who have falsified records of wolf attacks in order to fraudulently collect compensation.
Now the pressure is high and people are hanging dead wolves and heads from traffic signs in Asturias. It is a savage action that seeks to pressure politicians to continue killing wolves.
As a tourist destination, Asturias is a region that has been paradoxically sold as a “natural paradise” is now a paradise of cruelty and death to wildlife, especially for the wolf.
Author: Roberto Hartasanchez, President of FAPAS (Fondo para la Protección de los Animales Salvajes), based in Asturias, Spain
Translated by: Karin Eckhard