This morning I was sent a petition from Spain re: the Iberian wolf. The petition located HERE concerns the small population of wolves in the Nature Reserve of Sierra de la Culebra that lies on the border of Spain and Portugal. This reserve covers the mountain range of the Sierra de la Culebra, which is the last stronghold of the Iberian wolf.
On the Spanish side of the reserve, the wolves are preserved so that they may be hunted. Supposedly, hunting is severely limited to only a few determined by a lottery so that the population of wolves can be maintained. However, a controversy exists because the number of wolves is thought to be much lower than what is stated by authorities. In fact, there is much evidence that only half of the breeding population necessary to sustain the continuance of the Iberian wolf is present.
That's why this petition is so vastly important. By signing it, you are requesting an official recount of wolves in the area. Once the number of wolves is confirmed, the people of the area can insist that hunting be stopped, due to the lack of a sustainable breeding population.
These folks need your help. Please sign and share this petition. Thank you for your time and thank you for helping ALL the wolves of the world.
Study “An estimation of the Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) population in the Nature Reserve Sierra de la Culebra (Zamora)”
Extensive knowledge of the distribution, temporary changes, and size of a species’ population, is one of the basic requirements to consider for its proper conservation.
Among the elementary factors that condition the dynamics of a wolf population are the availability of food, and the mortality rate provoked by man.
Neither of these two factors are thoroughly known with regards to the population of the Iberian wolf, although several studies establish that a mortality rate higher than 28% will cause the decline of any wolf population. The impact of legal hunting, plus the uncontrolled poaching (34%) can heavily alter the age structure, which will put a population at risk. It is therefore vital in any Game Reserve that the aforementioned be thoroughly and responsibly investigated, as it is essential for the adequate management of the species.
The Plan for the Conservation and Management of the Wolf in Castile and León (Decree No. 28/2008, 3rd of April) considers the realisation of ten-yearly regional population censuses, in order to determine the evolution of the wolf, as well as improving the knowledge about the species.
The most recent demographic studies regarding the wolf population in the Reserve, date back to the end of the 1990s. Since then, six stable breeding areas are assumed to be in existence, with a steady and a continuous level of reproduction, counting a minimum of 21 specimens, and a maximum of 56. Traditionally, the Reserve is considered an area from where wolves move to other zones, where the species is not as numerous, which makes it essential for keeping the population in those areas on a healthy level.
With this worrying lack of adequate, up-to-date, and freely available information from the Reserve about a species that is part of our Natural Heritage, classified as “Almost Threatened” by the IUCN, and considered “of Community Interest”, we decided, in 2013, to start our own, independent estimation of the wolf population in the area, which would allow us to assess the decline said population has suffered in the past fifteen years.
As we expected, the results are discouraging. Instead of the officially estimated six stable breeding areas, we counted three with a secure reproduction, one with a probable reproduction, one with no evidence of reproduction, while the last one has disappeared completely.
According to information obtained after finalising our investigation, the missing pack was killed around six to seven years ago, presumably because it had attacked the livestock of the village of Villardeciervos. Today, after all those years, the non-recolonisation of the area is downright suspicious.
Many thanks to @igor_nieminen for bringing this petition to my attention.