Spanish court declares wolf hunting illegal

A verdict of the High Court of Justice of the region Castilla y León, Spain overturns the 2016 – 2019 wolf hunting programme. Hence, it declares the death of 173 wolves in Castilla y León illegal.

The Spanish NGO ASCEL informed us about the verdict in favor of their request issued in June 2017 to cancel the county´s hunting quota on wolves north of Douro river from 2016 to 2019. The “Junta de Castilla y León” (regional government) approved the quota in a resolution on 29th July 2016. This resolution started a programme to systematically kill a species that is protected and a key species for our environmental health.

ASCEL strives to put an end to this as soon as possible, to avoid more useless deaths

Asociación para la Conservación y Estudio del Lobo Ibérico ASCEL

The verdict is a milestone in the adjustment of old rules towards environmental protection. The verdict clarifies that animals cannot be killed unjustifiably and that you cannot hunt a protected species.

Illegally killed wolves must be compensated

Not only does the verdict overturn the resolution that covers hunting in those three years. But it determines that deaths must be compensated. During that period hunters killed 173 wolves in Castilla y León , 91 in 2016 and 82 in 2017. In 2018, the court suspended the quota at the request of ASCEL. That means € 1.602.153 must be paid as compensation to ‘repair damage caused to the environment by the hunting of wolves’. This must happen through a programme that ‘must understand the necessary performances for the recovery of the Iberian Wolf, its conservation and for the dissemination of the importance of the species’.

The scenario is heartbreaking, because the verdict means that all prior rules to hunt wolves in the region since 2010 were illegal. Hunters in Castilla y León therefore killed hundreds of wolves unlawfully.

It is impossible to believe that the current Regional Development Plan for 2019 – 2022 may have a different outcome. It is cast from the overturned plan, without endorsement of the wolf plan (cancelled), nor the hunting decree (cancelled regarding the the wolf).

5 thoughts on “Spanish court declares wolf hunting illegal

  • Hi, appeals eventually end up in front of the European High Court snd after the Finnish case, it can only get worse for the regional authorities. The FFH directive is clear and with every court case it becomes clearer.

  • This is a success for wolf conservation indeed!
    As far as we understand, the “Junta de Castilla y León” (regional government) has to pay the fine, because they approved the quota. If you want more specific information, you can also contact ASCEL ( for first-hand information.

  • This seems like an excellent outcome for the conservation of the wolf in Europe. Just one question; who will be ordered to pay the fine? Is there a national or regional hunting association that will be fined, individual hunters or, perhaps, the regional government?

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