Tuesday, October 4

The half season does not give truce and, faithful to its appointment, threatens the punished mountains of Spain

The images of the fire destroying mountains and houses are being the protagonists of this summer. The flames are burning the Spanish territory, islands included. The impotence of being a spectator of this destruction increases when we know that most of them have been intentional. All these factors are becoming more serious this summer, sadly reaching historical figures.

So far in 2022, the fire has devastated more than 222,000 hectares of Spanish territory, according to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS). The most affected autonomous communities, to date, are Castilla y León, Galicia and Catalonia. The high figures of calcined surface have made this year the worst of the century in Spain.

The fires have affected thousands of families, as well as the animals that live in the surroundings, wild animals that are part of the biodiversity of our mountains and that are the most affected by the fire. The impact on the fauna can be immediate (mortality or emigration to other spaces) or indirect (disappearance of food sources, loss of protection or nesting positions and change in the trophic relationships between species).

Recovery mechanisms after a fire are not unlimited. Even recurrent fires in a territory can modify the composition of the species that inhabit it. The flora and fauna need time to start showing signs of recovery, which is usually estimated between 1 and 5 years.

If hunting is already an act of unquestionable cruelty, exercising it in circumstances like the current ones is mere sadism.

And this is what is happening: in this bleak scenario, the half season does not consider giving a break. This extraordinary period, outside of the general hunting season, has just begun, when there are still active fires and new ones appear every day. It is “celebrated” so that the hunters do not lose their form with the shotgun. The days and duration may vary from one community to another. It is the communities themselves that establish the working days, as well as the quotas of the species allowed to hunt.

The species that are in the sights of hunters these days are wood pigeons, stock pigeons and rock pigeons, magpies, crows, foxes, mallards, quail, turtle doves, black-headed gulls and yellow-legged gulls, among others.

In addition to the high number of victims, many of them are still in the breeding period, such as the pigeon pigeon wave quailwhose chicks are still dependent in this period.

This slaughter is incoherent and expendable, especially in this catastrophic summer of fires. Mainly for this reason, associations in defense of animals, such as Free Fox, consider it inadmissible that this hunting period remains unchanged, for which they ask for a suspension of the closed season and an absolute cessation of all hunting activity, in order to that the fauna recovers. To do this, they launched the petition Stop Half Hunting Closure before it started, and will remain active until the end of the hunting period. Through the petition, they are collecting signatures addressed to the Ministry of Ecological Transition, competent in this matter, so that it does not allow this destructive act to continue.

In addition to this citizen participation, Free Fox held an informative event last Sunday, August 14, at Plaza de Callao in Madrid. The objective was to inform passers-by of what the mid-ban means, a month of hunting in which thousands of animals will be killed, and to explain that the most coherent thing is for it to be suspended so as not to further damage our ecosystems.

Alicia Roa, president of Free Fox, considers “unacceptable that more pressure is exerted on the wildlife devastated by the fires, with the aggravating circumstance that many of them are in the breeding period. For all these reasons, we ask the Ministry of Ecological Transition to immediately suspend the closed season, so that the fauna can begin to recover.

Spain occupies the first positions in terms of hunting activity. Likewise, it is the country of the European Union with the most hectares burned by fire so far this year. The sum of these elements supposes a totally avoidable damage for the native fauna. It has just begun, it is not too late to stop these indiscriminate killings on a mountain devastated and burned by flames. It is nonsense at the height of pyromania.