Today’s environment is changing and the extinction rate is accelerating. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform reported that approximately 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction, and people are aware this threat has increased over the past few centuries.
Spain is known for its high population of wolves, as it has Europe’s largest wolf population. Spain’s wolf population was around 9,000 wolves in the 19th century. Wolves have roamed several regions of Spain, like Andalucía, Castilla and León, Galicia, and Asturias.
Recently, wolves have been declared extinct in Andalucía by the Andalucian government. There has been an attempt to monitor the species since 2003, but the Andalucian government’s environment department said, “Since 2020, there has been no sign of the wolf being present in Andalucía.”
To understand more about this incident and to hear what the public thought about the decline of wolf populations in Andalucía, Real Research launched a survey on the topic.
- 35.35% believed enough actions had been taken to protect the wolf population in Andalucía.
- The loss of wolves in Andalucía is somewhat related to the lack of political will on the part of the regional government to adopt conservation measures, according to 42.61%
- Nearly half (47.63%) thought that to prompt necessary protective measures, the wolf population in Andalucía should have been listed earlier.
Wolf Extinction in Andalucía:
Wolves have roamed the mountain ranges of Andalucía in southern Spain for generations, but after years of decline, the mammal has been officially declared extinct in the region. In our survey on the wolf extinction in Andalucía, 52.01% were well aware of the recent declaration of wolf extinction in Andalucía, Spain, 29.03% were vaguely aware, and 18.96% weren’t aware.
The wolves were declared extinct in Andalucía recently, but they haven’t been spotted in the region since 2020. 40.59% were vaguely aware, 29.72% weren’t aware, and 29.69% were well aware of this.
To monitor the number of wolves in the region, the Andalucian government has conducted wolf population censuses since 2003, as well as to reduce conflict with the local population, especially farmers. However, these attempts aren’t considered successful as there has been no evidence of wolf presence since 2020. 35.35% believed there had been enough action taken to protect the wolf population in the region, 31.68% weren’t sure, and 32.97% didn’t believe enough action had been taken.
Who’s Responsible for the Wolf Extinction in Andalucía?
Luis Suarez, the conservation coordinator for the World Wildlife Fund in Spain, addressed the matter and stated, “This is bad news and it confirms the negative trend for the few existing wolf packs in southern Spain, which are threatened through being physically and genetically isolated from wolves in the rest of Spain, by loss of habitat, poaching, and illegal hunting.”
He added that the wolf extinction in Andalucía is directly related to the lack of political will on the part of the regional government to adopt conservation measures. 42.61% agreed with him to some extent, 34.95% agreed completely, 20.49% weren’t sure, and 1.95% didn’t agree with his statement.
As this situation has been going on for a long time, Suarez mentioned his frustration that the wolf had not been listed as a species in danger of extinction earlier. To prompt necessary protective measures, the wolf population in Andalucía should have been listed earlier according to 47.63%, 34.68% weren’t sure about this statement, and 17.69% didn’t think the wolf population should have been listed earlier.
Overoptimism or Ignorance of the Spanish Government?
The Spanish government conducted a wolf recovery plan in 2021 aimed at increasing the population by 18%, from 297 to 350 packs. However, according to a study published by the Natural History Museum in Madrid, official estimates of Spain’s wolf population are overly optimistic, and the numbers are much lower than claimed.
Victoria Gonzalez, a researcher on the project, said, “Populations are typically assessed over a period of two years which is insufficient to determine within a significant margin of error whether a population is increasing, in decline or stable.”
45.61% shared the same opinion as the study and thought the wolf population estimates in Spain are overly optimistic and the actual numbers are lower, 32.05% weren’t sure, and 22.34% disagreed.
Poaching or illegal hunting contributes directly to the decline of any animal population and threatens their existence. 32.8% strongly agreed that tougher restrictions and punishments should be implemented to prevent this activity, 31.7% somewhat agreed, 30.96% weren’t sure, 3.89% somewhat disagreed, and 0.65% strongly disagreed.
|Survey Title||Survey on the Wolf Extinction in Andalucía|
|Duration||August 4, 2023 – August 11, 2023|
|Number of Participants||10,000|
|Demographics||Males and females, aged 21 to 99|
|Participating Countries||Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia,… Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.|
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