A BID to overturn Spain’s wolf hunting ban by Spain’s conservative opposition party has been rejected by parliament.

The Popular Party (PP), supported by several farming organisations, were seeking to repeal a law that came into force last September designating wolves as a protected species in the Iberian peninsula.

The issue has become the latest battleground in Spain’s continuing animal welfare debate with farmers claiming wolves are a menace that cause immeasurable damage to farmers’ livelihoods while naturalists say they are a vital part of the ecosystem.

Thanks in a large part to restrictions on hunting Spain and Portugal are now thought to be home to about 3,000 wolves, the largest lupine population in Europe, according to data from Ecologists in Action, a conservation group.

Iberian Wolf Snip
Iberian wolves were formerly hunted by European hunters as a big-game trophy.
Photo: Wikipedia.

In Castilla y Leon, Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria, the practice of wolf culling to control the population had been allowed with some 300 packs thought to roam the lands. 

The proposal put forward by the PP sought a return to the previous version of the law where wolves were protected in areas south of the River Duero, where their numbers are low but could be targeted by hunters in the north of Castilla y Leon and Cantabria.

While estimations are difficult, Spanish agricultural association COAG claims around 15,000 livestock are killed each by wolves in Spain each year – or around  40 each day,

The PP has continued to claim that financial compensation for farmers whose livestock is depleted by wolves is insufficient.  

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