The pressure of the neighbors favorable to hunting the wolf has forced the cancellation of an event in Villardeciervos (Zamora) organized by several platforms that wanted to celebrate the inclusion of the animal in the list of protected species. The days ‘Celebration for the living and protected wolf’ were to take place on the weekend of October 30 to 31 in the municipality of Sierra de la Culebra, one of the areas of the Iberian Peninsula with the largest number of these animals, but the “threats”, according to the organizers, have led the mayor to cancel it.
“The mayor called me yesterday and told me that I had to suspend because he had received threats. You know what happens in the villages, that everyone knows each other. He apologized a thousand times, we have known him for a lot of years and he has always supported us “, explains by phone Angel M. Sanchez, director of the Volunteering for the Wolf Census and one of those responsible for the sessions who are now looking for a new location.
In Castilla y León, the decision of the Government of Pedro Sánchez to include the wolf in the list of protected species with the consequent prohibition of its hunting has not sat well in many sectors. The Junta de Castilla y León has announced a judicial appeal as other communities with the presence of the mammal have done, and livestock associations cry out against a measure that, according to them, “condemns them.” If the wolf is not hunted, they explain, the population increases and becomes a “plague” against livestock.
However, Villardeciervos is also the example of the opposite. That not only hunting generates wealth. The municipality has used the claim of the living wolf to create tourism in the area. That is why the organizers of the conference show, if possible, greater amazement at the pressure from the neighbors. “The mayor was visibly scared, as well as upset. It is outrageous that he receives these pressures, but it is understandable and sure that he will know if reasons are justified, explains Sánchez, from the Lobo Census.
The mayor of Zamorano prefers not to talk about threats but rather about pressure. “After the ban, tempers are hot. I cannot guarantee that nothing will happen because I have no means to avoid any incident,” explains councilor Lorenzo Jiménez. If it were only for him, the days would have been celebrated, but now he prefers to wait for the storm to pass and calm the spirits of the neighbors. He agrees with conservationists that the wolf is a key tourist attraction for its population. “Wolf tourism is generating a lot of money and visits. Economic income that keeps the people alive,” he says. The decision to cancel the event, with which he does not agree, is “so that things do not get worse” in the town.
From the Lobo Marley association, one of the most important in the country in defense of the animal, its president Luis Miguel Domínguez, charges against the neighbors who have pressured, although he also understands the mayor in his decision. “We cannot take responsibility for someone being injured,” he says. “We have been hurt by the great injustice of having to cancel, especially because a population of all kinds is settled in Villardeciervos. There are hoteliers, companies dedicated to the observation of the living wolf … What happens to those neighbors who are silent about the Mafia-like mouth? he wonders.
The organizing associations are working to find a new municipality in which to do the sessions, although they assume that they will not arrive in time to do so on the scheduled dates. Among the activities that had been planned, in addition to talks on the new regulations, he had planned a catering, conferences on the importance of the wolf for those regions or tours in search of tracks and signs of the animal. All of this will have to be done in a new location. They are optimistic. “The only thing missing is that we could not celebrate the ban,” sums up Angel M. Sanchez.