Friday, August 10, 2012

Environment Ministry announces new wolf hunts in Picos de Europa

August 3, 2012

 

The Environment Ministry has announced its decision to immediately start new hunting of wolves in the National Park Picos de Europa in order "to control" the number of this fabulous wild animal.
The hunt is in response to some farmers who proclaim that the wolves are causing too much damage to their flocks of sheep.  Instead of developing a conservation policy based on rigorous scientific research, politicians have chosen the easier and cheaper solution: shoot to kill. Nothing is more reassuring for some people than to see the body of a dead wolf, but this method is totally ineffective.
 
Picos de Europa National Park is the only Spanish park with wolves. However, rather than manage the wolves' presence in an exemplary manner, which would acknowledge their strict protection, the ministry opts for the a death match---the least effective of all possible solutions. Instead,as proposed by the WWF, a working committee composed of representatives from government, GNO's, trade unions and agrarian experts should be introduced ASAP in order to improve the farmer compensation systems, to develop new prevention mechanisms to minimize damage to livestock, and to resolve ranching issues. Why not do it?
 
Our national park needs Picos de Europa mountain livestock to sustain its rich biodiversity, its landscape and its peasantry. Consideration for the value of the wolves' presence in the park should be given. Wolves not only provide environmental quality, but they also attract tourist dollars. .
 
Another key step is to improve the knowledge we have about the current state of conservation of the species. It's a shame that the last national census for Iberian wolves was done twenty-four years ago, in 1988. Also, as each governing body works autonomously, they all function in an uncoordinated manner and they work with equally partial data. And what about the farmers? In addition, the Ministry should pay the farmers well, without delay so that a peaceful coexistence is encouraged. But no; the same drastic and erroneous solution is promoted: kill wolves.
 
Some pastors these days wear Asturian dress shirts with the slogan: "With wolves there is no paradise." They are wrong. The reality is just the opposite: "No wolf = no paradise."
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Over 26,000 people have already signed a petition on Change.org asking Belen Gonzalez, the Minister for the Environment of the Principality of Asturias, to stop the killing of wolves in the National Park Picos de Europa. You can attach your signature there, as well; we need as many voices as possible in order to get the message across and save those wolves.
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