PRIVATE hunting associations are pushing for a further extension to the National Park hunting permissions across Spain.

If the extension is granted, it will mean that large private estates situated in National Parks will be allowed to continue their population control of animals such as wild boar and deer.

Back in 2014, the then ruling party, the PP, granted a six year extension to the law that permits hunting on private land situated in protected areas.

Hunting associations want to maintain the law as an effective method of population management, and describe the potential lack of control as an ‘ecological disaster.’

So far, according to the National Parks Association, ‘very few’ applications from private land owners have been received, however municipal governments have so far signed off o 36 different applications covering 100,000 hectares.

The 2014 ruling affected the Doñana, Picos de Europa, Sierra Nevada and Cabañeros National Parks, with Cabañeros being the most affected with 15 estates currently permitted to hunt.

Many hunters are unsure of what the future holds as according to land owners, applications for extensions appear to be ‘lost in the post’.

“Once this seasons hunt ends, it will be the end of many generations of the sport, our lawyers are in contact with the Ministry but we have heard nothing.” said Gonzalo Palomo, land owner in the Cabañeros National Park.

Environmental groups have denounced the ruling, claiming that the hunters profit from the animals they kill, and that the umbrella of ‘population control’ is a thinly veiled mask for a barbaric sport.

The groups also claim that the Hunting Associations purposely inflate the numbers of deer and wild boar in order to justify the shoots fall within the agreed census.

This is also backed up by independent data from the National Parks Agency, who conducted a study on hunting practices in Cabañeros.

“It is very complicated, only the specific preserves know the true story,” said Miguel Angel Hernandez, head of Ecologists in Action in Castilla-La Mancha.

“In the example of wild boar, we can only go on how many kills are collected and registered, we suspect many more are shot and left in the park.”

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