PAN wants the Assembly of the Republic to reject European resolution against wolves | Biodiversity

The PAN wants the Assembly of the Republic to formally repudiate the resolution on large carnivores that was adopted by the European Parliament in November last year. This resolution argues that, as “some large predators, namely wolves and bears”, will be managing to increase their distribution area “in many regions of Europe” — which will be harmful for farmers and livestock breeders —, a “reduced protection status” of the wolf (canis lupus).

In a statement, the PAN says it understands that this document “represents a serious threat and a setback in relation to the conservation of this species emblematic”. The party presented this Thursday a draft resolution that proposes to the Assembly of the Republic that not only formally repudiate the resolution adopted by the European Parliament, but also demand the “maintenance of the protection measures” of the wolf — which, thanks to the directive Habitatsstill cannot be caught on European Union (EU) territory.

The resolutions that the European Parliament adopts are not binding documents. However, they convey an opinion or political position of this legislative body, so they can influence new legal frameworks. Hence the PAN feels that this resolution on large carnivores represents a “serious threat”.

The resolution says that the wolf’s distribution area in Europe “has increased by more than 25%” in the last ten years. He also says that “the negative impact of attacks on livestock by the growing population of wolves is increasingly accentuated”. The document “invites” the European Commission to evaluate scientific data regularly, in order to “adapt the protection status of the species as soon as the desired conservation status is reached”.

At the moment, the European Union will have around 19 thousand wolves

In response, the PAN suggests that attacks by wolves on livestock would occur less frequently if the human hand were not leaving the animal in a vulnerable position. The attacks are “a sign of imbalance in the natural habitat” of wolves, says Inês Sousa Real.

The PAN spokesperson and deputy argues that habitat destruction and the scarcity of wild prey are the reasons why this species “approaches territories populated by humans in search of food”. Inês Sousa Real says that, while more “measures to prevent” wolf attacks should be adopted — such as the use of cattle dogs, a measure that the PAN considers to be effective —, it is also necessary to invest “in the creation of conditions for the wolf to thrive in its territory, avoiding conflict with human activity”.

European ministers contested resolution

This resolution adopted by the European Parliament at the end of November has generated some discussion. Earlier this month, 12 European environment ministers (including Portugal’s Minister for the Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro) sent a letter to the European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries (Virginijus Sinkevicius), saying they were against the document.

Signatories argue that while the resolution raises important questions, it would be a mistake to end strict protection of the wolf. In his view, a combination of this strict protection and an “effective system” of preventive and compensatory measures — that is, measures that allow farmers and livestock keepers not only to avoid attacks by carnivores, but also to be compensated precisely when these attacks occur — it is the path that “will bring the best solutions”.

One recent review conservation status of the wolf in Europe, carried out by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and published last September, indicates that, “based on the best available data”, it is likely that the total number of wolves currently in the 27 Member States of the EU around 19 thousand. This number has been growing, but there are populations of this animal that remain in a fragile position.


In Portugal, a new census should be published shortly with information on how many Iberian wolves exist in our territory and where they are, but the latest official data are still from 2002/2003. Then, 63 packs were identified — 51 confirmed and 12 probable —, with an estimated population number of between 220 and 430 individuals.

The Iberian wolf continues to be classified as being “endangered” of extinction. And, according to a recent study by Spanish researchers, it is losing genetic diversity, which puts its survival at risk.

The PAN states that the wolf “plays a prominent role in ecosystems”, helping to maintain the “balance” of European fauna and flora. It also suggests that, “curiously”, its presence is, in some regions, beneficial to agriculture itself”. The party explains: by eating wild boar and deer, wolves reduce the damage that these species can cause to agricultural and forestry crops, and to livestock.

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