The Iberian wolf represents one of the most characteristic animal species of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) and is of primary importance in the conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity. However, it is currently at clear risk of becoming extinct, despite being a protected species under the Habitats regulation of the European Union. In this AgroCorrn article we analyze this species and why the Iberian wolf is in danger of extinction .
The Iberian wolf in the Iberian Peninsula – distribution
The Iberian wolf ( Canis lupus signatus ) is a very ancient inhabitant of the Iberian Peninsula and it is said that it is one of the ancestors of dogs, but in reality this is not the case, rather that these two species have the same ancestor in common . It is a predatory animal that lives mainly in the northwestern part of the peninsula, where it feeds on prey such as deer, roe deer, wild boar, chickens or rabbits, because it has a great capacity for adaptation, changing the diet according to the region in the one that lives. They usually live in areas with low human densities.
Currently, it is estimated that half of the wolves that inhabit our country are in the north of Castilla y León (between 1,000 and 1,500 specimens) and 35% in Galicia (between 500 and 700 wolves). However, the highest population density of the Iberian wolf is found in the northwest of the province of Zamora, in a municipality called Muelas de los Caballeros, where there are about 5 or 7 wolves per 100 km2. Populations were also located in Sierra Morena (Jaén and Cuenca) and further south. It is precisely in the south where the populations of this species are most fragmented and threatened and, therefore, more protected.
Thus, in Spain it is estimated that around 30% of wolves in Europe live and this species was declared of community interest in the European Union, although in Spain there are no uniform regulations that protect them.
Why the Iberian wolf is in danger of extinction – know the causes
Currently, the Iberian wolf is an endangered species . Among other factors, this is due to the fact that their way of feeding represents a threat in rural areas, where the economy is supported mainly by agricultural and livestock activities. It is in these areas where poaching and also the poisoning of specimens are making this species vulnerable and exposing them to their disappearance, so it is essential to develop protection and prevention measures that guarantee coexistence with human beings and their activities.
The threat to this species already goes back, at least, until the year 1816, when there was an approved law that persecuted this species and offered rewards to people who hunted adult wolves or wolf pups. This situation lasted until the beginning of the year 1970, when the Iberian wolf was considered a plague in Spain and where the figure of the wolfhound or hunter of wolves existed and traps were installed to hunt them. Today, these traps are illegal, but wolf hunting is still allowed and in most parts of the country, the species must be respected as long as it does not conflict with humans or their activities.
How to help the Iberian wolf so that it does not become extinct – protection initiatives
From various spheres, the State has been demanding that it promote laws for the protection of the Iberian wolf and that a dialogue be generated between the different sectors involved. The Ministry of Agriculture has called on the European Union for this species to be considered hunting throughout the country.
Some initiatives to protect the Iberian wolf in recent years are:
- Proposals promoted by associations such as ASCEL (Association for the Conservation and Study of the Wolf), Ecologists in Action, WWF and Lobo Marley to the political formations for the defense of this species.
- Proposition No. of Law promoted by the Commission of Agriculture, Food and Environment for the conservation of this species and its protection throughout the country.
- Proposition of Unidos Podemos-En Comú Podem that you request to include this species in the list of species of special protection to the north of the Duero and those of the south, to be included in the Spanish catalog of threatened and endangered species .
- The informative program “The Man and the Earth” by Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, managed to slightly change the popular mentality in those years with respect to this species.
In addition, in AgroCorrn we explain how to avoid poaching , one of the main causes of the situation that Iberian wolves are currently experiencing. Likewise, if you want to read more about wolves, we also recommend knowing why the Mexican gray wolf is in danger of extinction .
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