Wolves in danger of remaining less protected

The European Commission announced a proposal to the member states to downgrade the protection status of the wolf under the Bern Convention. This proposal is not supported by scientific evidence and is a smack in the face for conservational efforts for the wolf in Europe. Like hundreds of other NGOs all over Europe, EuroNatur strongly opposes this political move and calls on all member states to reject it.

Wolf in a forest
© depositphotos/Montipaiton

“This proposal could severely harm conservation efforts made to secure the species survival in its natural habitat,” says Antje Henkelmann, Project Manager Wolf Conservation at EuroNatur. “President Von der Leyen´s proposal is an obvious attempt to cover up the inability or unwillingness of her and her political allies to address socioeconomic problems in rural areas and structural deficits in the agricultural sector in Europe.”

“Last year, the Bern Convention already dealt with this issue and rejected a downgrading of the wolf. Why try again now? The facts haven’t changed, only the assessment by some have changed. In fact, lowering the protection status does not bring any advantages for grazing livestock farmers, the voter group some politicians are so eager to please says Gabriel Schwaderer, Executive Director of EuroNatur. A recent Slovakian study confirms this.

Furthermore, the downgrading of the wolf’s protection status could have severe ramifications not only on the species survival in its natural habitat, but also on the framework of European conservational policies: it might subject the Habitats Directive, a vital legal instrument safeguarding habitats and species across Europe, to further review. This prospect has raised red flags among conservationists, as any modifications to the directive could have far-reaching consequences for the delicate balance of Europe's ecosystems.

Wolves play a vital role in maintaining ecosystem balance and biodiversity, representing considerable conservation success with their return to parts of Europe where the species had been previously extirpated. Measures of attack prevention, supervision and compensation have been developed, tested, and proven for years. Their implementation is a matter of political will. EuroNatur strongly urges all member states to oppose the proposal and to stand up for science-based decision-making and responsible wildlife management to preserve Europe's natural heritage. 

Before the proposal was announced on December 20th, more than 300 nature conservation NGOs had sent a  letter to the EU Commission, demanding a decision on this issue solely based on reliable scientific data.