Within less than a decade the price of a wolf rag in Spain dropped from 14,900 euro to a quarter of it. The huge economical hit of the whole country did its share, but in combination with a new arising wolf awareness movement in Spain, it’s no more that socially accepted to have a wolf rag hanging in the living room. Antonio Navarro, who runs a hotel offering wolf tours to his clients, state that the regional government’s policy of promoting wolf hunts goes against economic good sense in a remote part of Spain that stands to gain much more from promoting the animal’s presence.
“There are more and more people coming here because it’s home to wolves in the wild,” said Navarro, who estimates that 70 percent of his revenue comes from “wolf-spotters” who travel from all over Europe to see the animals. “It doesn’t make sense to kill them.”
John and Margaret Hallowell run the company wildwolfexperience and offer Wolf watching trips. “I am happy if my tours bring an understanding and, hopefully, a sighting of this most elusive wild predator!”
However, last month a shot wolf was hang on a traffic sign in the town of Lena in the Asturian region. „There are still people out there that won’t accept the presence of wolves of any kind,” said Antonio Uzal, a lecturer in wildlife conservation at Nottingham Trent University in the U.K. “This is their way of saying they’re still here.”
Earlier this year, environmental groups and unions in Cantabria reached agreement on a wolf-management plan that accepts the need to control populations while accepting that the animal is here to stay. A better response would be a national wolf plan that takes account of local conditions rather than different regional plans, said Uzal. Wolves can travel 100 kilometers a day and constantly move between different hunting jurisdictions while the species is protected in neighboring Portugal. They are a fact of life in the Sierra de la Culebra and local people know how to live with them, said de Soto of the farmers’ union, who keeps sheep.
“If you’re going to farm sheep here, you must have a good shepherd and you must have mastiffs to keep the wolves away,” de Soto of the farmers’ union, who keeps sheep, said. “What we can’t have is people from Madrid or elsewhere telling us how to manage how we do things.”
A 1980s study by the Institute for Nature Conservation estimated the wolf population at up to 2,000, distributed over 100,000 square kilometers.