DEMONSTRATION FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE IBERIAN WOLF AND THE END OF THE KILLINGS: A MANIFESTO
Demonstration to take place in Madrid on the 13th of March, 2016.
The iberian wolf is not only a beautiful animal, it is also a vital piece in our wildlife’s “puzzle”.
However, we are currently witnessing a wholesale slaughter of the wolf that seems unbelievable to happen in the 21st century. Such a situation is causing an uproar among Spanish citizens, who no longer perceive wild nature as a luxury for an elite of nature-lovers, but rather see it as the only warranty of survival for our species. To protect our natural heritage is just becoming an act of self-defense.
Large carnivores are the natural controllers of the populations of wild herbivores, a role which has cascading effects that benefit the health of the fauna, vegetation, water, and air. The need to restore such natural balance has become a World priority, and for that reason the payment of any agricultural subsidies must be subject to environmentally-friendly practices.
Nowadays, the iberian wolf is bleeding out, amidst a deeply anachronistic situation. Spanish regulations are lagging decades behind current scientific knowledge. Even though the wolf is a species of community interest, which forces us to keep a healthy and viable population, the fact is that the officially sanctioned killing of wolves (euphemistically called “population controls”) is still used as a means to reduce the impact of attacks on livestock. But research has clearly shown that such actions don´t reduce the amount of attacks, but actually increase them as a consequence of seriously disrupting wolf packs.
In other regions the wolf is a huntable species, left in the hands of the trophy-hunting lobby. Although sports-hunting is supposed to follow technical criteria, the real fact is that the most sought for trophy is the alpha male, precisely the animal whose killing will be most disruptive for wolf society, having the worst consequences for wildlife and for livestock.
To make matters worse, part of the wolves currently slaughtered in Spain come from Portugal, a country where they are strictly protected, and whose protection costs dear money to the European authorities. This “at gunpoint” management of the wolf is throwing the Spainsh rural world into a spiral of stress. Although Europe encourages the use of preventive measures against wolf attacks on livestock, the current combination of attacks, revenge and compensation-for-losses payments (always subject to trickery) leaves little motivation for using those measures. Some groups have even demanded the local extermination of the wolf, something that is not only monstrous but completely illegal. In an attempt to justify such bloodshed, the government provides an artificial impression of wolf abundance based on surveys paid by the same government, lacking independence or a reliable methodology.
Facing such a situation, we wish to make a very clear petition: we demand that the wolf gets the status of fully protected species in all of Spain, with an immediate end of all hunting and lethal control operations on this species. In that way, the wolf will simply achieve the same status as other species in Spain, such as the imperial eagle, the brown bear or the Iberian lynx. By eliminating the concept of the killings as management techniques, we will finally give proper room for preventive measures, and any economic support will be strictly subject to the adoption of such measures. This will give some breathing space to the new generations of rural inhabitants, who long for a new system where ecotourism and environmentally-friendly agricultural practices will foster a greater laboral and cultural diversity.
But even such changes in the regulations only deal with the formal aspects, and with this demonstration we want to favour a deeper social change. It is useless to have a regulation on paper if shortsighted, irresponsible, and even criminal attitudes are tolerated by the government. We have a huge educational task ahead, and spreading the positive values of biodiversity is just as important as the formal protection of the wolf. Such a labour took place several decades ago in Spain, when filmmaker Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, whose anniversary we celebrate these days, confronted the ancestral ignorance around the wolf and took the species out of the “vermin” list for good.
The wolf is an excellent ambassador of our wildlife, and it is a powerful symbol of freedom as well.
But freedom always comes at a price, and unfortunately it is possible to get used to live without it, as we know well in this country. And the same is true about wildlife. Without freedom and witout wild nature, people become something more smilar to automatons, and we barely notice what we are missing, or, even worse, what we are denying to the future generations. It is just a crime to condemn our children to live in a grey world, a combination of a gigantic dump and a planetary-scale monoculture. We want a greener world, where we can live and not just survive. We want our wild nature. We want our WOLF ALIVE, WOLF PROTECTED -NOW!