The Wolf is a protected species in Spain, and ASCEL is the model national entity defending it actively through the current law, as we think the strict conservation of this species is the best warranty of total preservation in regard to our ecosystems.

Foundation date

5th June 2000

Members

200 associates

Location

All across Spain

Ongoing initiatives

  • Inspect of Spanish agencies wolf management actions. In order to make it, we ask for information based on the right to environmental information EU laws. Inclusion of Wolf in the Red List of Threatened species as “Vulnerable” all over Spain.
  • Divulgation of Wolves’ protection, as it is demanded by actual framework. This factt cannot be conditioned due to economic activities (such as ranching or tourism). Human activities must be adjusted to wolves’ presence, and not the other way round.
  • Qualified assessment for mass media professionals.
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Iberian Wolf

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Iberian Wolf

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Iberian Wolf

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Why was it created?

The association was born because there was not any national group specialized in Wolves, through the conservation and claim of alternative policies. The Wolves’ bad management as a protected species could not be allowed, among other things, because of its ecological importance and the illegality committed with population controls and hunting management.

ASCEL was created to achieve the following objectives:

  • To promote long-term conservation of the Wolves’ population in the Iberian peninsula.
  • To spread knowledge about the Wolf and, consequently, to ease the coexistence between Wolves and humans.

Milestones achieved

We have created a guidelines document for helping professional journalist . We alsohave published a referential book in Spain proposing a standardized tracking of the Iberian Wolves’ population. However, we are best known for the legal actions that have saved hundreds of individuals. ASCEL’s membership allows to directly take part in achieving the milestone of stopping the hunting of several Wolves, which is not commonly seen everywhere.

The most remarkable judicial actions would be the following:

  • To have stopped the hunting of 149 individuals in Castile and León during 2017-2018.
  • To have cancelled the Wolf’s Management Plan in Castile and León, which was based on hunting as only choice
  • To have impeded Wolves’ arbitrary sacrifice due to managers being judged by society.

Iberian Wolf pups

Source: Arturo de Frias Marques

Iberian Wolf

Source: Arturo de Frias Marques

Current concerns

  • The ones related to the court of justice because, instead of establishing prevention policies, the suspension of hunting actions and Wolves’ control as a management tool is needed.
  • The conservation status of this population is inadequate and unfavourable, only the ones effectively protected increase, such as the majority of the European ones. By contrast, the Iberian Wolf’s population is isolated in the Iberian north-west due to human persecution.
  • The bad management model in Picos de Europa National Park, as it is the only natural and protected area with the maximum environmental qualification in our country and with a huge lupine representation. The fact of their managers promoting population control or wolves’ death (among other species) is unacceptable. These areas, precisely, should be a good management model.

Upcoming objectives

  • To include the Wolf in the Spanish Catalogue of Threatened Species in the “Vulnerable” category and in the corresponding regional catalogues.
  • To cancel the Management Plan in Cantabria and the hunting rights.
  • To suspend the administrative resolutions of the Principality of Asturias authorizing Wolves’ control in this region.
  • To penally prosecute the culprit behind Wolves’ population control in Spain, because under no circumstances can any protected species be hunted.
  • To guide the primary sector’s public funding (for example, the CAP) to preventive measures for ranchers proving to adopt them in order to minimize the risk of livestock loss due to depredation.

A disturbing reflection

Non-natural mortality provoked by humans is the first cause of death among Wolves, even in protected environments. Therefore, the relationship between humans and other living beings has not changed that much, which shows the need for transformation in supposedly progressive societies.

A reflection for hope

The Iberian ecosystems need Wolves’ presence due to its key role and interaction with other components of these.

Our society perceives the apex predators’ importance (Wolves, Tigers, Lions or Orcas) as the best biodiversity’s conservation and restoration tool. A model based on population control and hunting increases environmental imbalances.

As stated in article 51 of the Indian Constitution “it shall be the duty to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures”. This principle rules some individuals’ behaviour in a society which needs us for a healthy environment. As the American anthropologist and poetess Margaret Mead says: “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”.

A reflexion

Killing Wolves does not reduce poaching or the impact on farming and it does not improve social perception. In fact, scientific evidence shows that Wolves’ lethal management disturbs the organization and structure of a social species. As it has been already said, a protected species cannot be exploited for hunting.

We need the Wolves that Spain can shelter, as they do not need our help to play their role, which is beneficial and indispensable for the environmental health recognized in article 45 of our Constitution.

Iberian Wolves

Source: Gerard Van Drunen

How can I help?

The most direct way is affiliation, obviously. We consider that collaborating with ASCEL is the most efficient and rational way in Spain to achieve Wolves’ effective conservation, as we use the best knowledge available, and we do not hesitate in going to court. This tells the difference between us and other organizations as “QUANGO” (partially controlled and sponsored by the government) or the ones consisting in greenwashing, which require remuneration.

Sources of funding

The main ones are the annual memberships’ fees and individual donations. Thanks to “LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics”, we have punctual funding to spread our non-conditioned and strict protection campaign.

An example to follow

The investigator and Conservation Biology doctor Gordon Haber, deceased in an aerial accident in Alaska while tracking Wolves in Denali National Park. He was a revolutionary who defended courageously and passionately the Wolves’ strict conservation in North America. During his trajectory, he proved that Wolves are social beings with a structural and sensorial complexity with familiar organizations and that human activity (such as hunting, traps or tourism) turns into a threat for conservation (group disarrangement or adaptation to humans due to tourism).

His conservationist trajectory resembles our entity’s actions, as we use the best scientific knowledge of conservationist biology to counter “sectorial groups” directed by the administration. This is frequently assessed by biologists and environmental enterprises, which unfortunately consider the hunting of apex or alpha predators, the key to our natural heritage, a default management tool.

A dream

The Wolf is the only terrestrial apex predator species without cataloguing, unlike the Brown Bear, the Iberian Lynx and the big raptors. The recovery of lupine presence should be an environmental management objective in Spain because of the important ecological role of these species.

We want Wolf’s inclusion in the Spanish Catalogue of Threatened Species, with that there would be active species’ conservation policies and legal tools to fight against poaching. Moreover, population control could be avoided, which would enable its demographic and genetic recovery, as well as its connectivity with other populations, such as the French and Italian one.

Iberian Wolf walking

Source: Arturo de Frias Marques

A good habit

There is a bunch of beliefs and bad habits which should be rejected:

  • A protected species, such as the Wolf, cannot suffer hunting exploitation.
  • Wolves’ news is distorted: natural predation is nothing new, what should be highlighted is the unprotected livestock.
  • The Wolves’ impact on agricultural and farming activities is insignificant.
  • Many agricultural producers depend on public grants to preserve the rural environment, it is a non-sense to receive CAP subsidies and set fire to the forest or killing Wolves.
  • Wild animals are not an exclusive good of rural inhabitants, their management and interest should be public.
  • We must act as responsible consumers and require the primary sector’s product tracking. The agricultural and farming organizations justify the apex predators lethal control arguing that their production guarantees biodiversity and that it is incompatible with wild fauna. It is not true, and even if it was, we have the right as consumers to know it and to act consequently, as it involves lupine hunting.
  • Society is already sustaining Wolf’s debit because ranchers receive public assistance (CAP is EU’s 40% budget) to compensate activities which would be loss-making and which suppose bankrupt regarding international (and ethical) trade.