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The wolf of Andalusia: changing attitudes (LIFE SOUTHERN WOLVES)
Start date: Sep 1, 2016, End date: Jun 30, 2020 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background The Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) is a subspecies of grey wolf found in north-west Spain and northern Portugal. Its prey includes both game species and livestock. This is a source of conflict with those who make a living from these animals. Minimising wolf-human conflicts is a necessary condition for the conservation of the Iberian wolf, which is categorised as “near threatened” by the IUCN. This project focuses on the Iberian wolf’s southernmost distribution area: The central-eastern area of the Sierra Morena mountain range in Andalusia. The wolf population of this area is “unfavourable bad with negative trends”, according to the most recent conservation status assessment under Article 17 of the EU Habitats Directive, with only 42-49 individuals remaining. Here, large private estates are used for game hunting, leading to conflicts of interest between landowners, game wardens and the wolf population. Objectives The main objective of the LIFE SOUTHERN WOLVES project is to improve the coexistence of the Iberian wolf population with key economic activities in Andalusia, thereby improving its conservation status. To this end, the following specific objectives are proposed: Changing the negative perception of some game wardens, game reserve managers and owners in the Sierra Morena area; Raising the awareness of local rural populations of the issues relating to the preservation of the Iberian wolf and promoting a more positive image of the animal. By increasing awareness, in particular among those working in the game and livestock sectors, it is hoped to increase acceptance of the wolf by restoring its former cultural meaning and acceptance; Assessing the attitude of the local population towards the Iberian wolf; and Raising awareness of the added value the Iberian wolf can bring to the rural economy. Expected results: The project expects to achieve the following results: Some 65% of game wardens in Andalusia will take part in training courses on wolf conservation and 60% will sign the “Covenant of the Wolf in Andalusia”, a voluntary code of conduct; At least 60% of landowners within the distribution area of the Iberian wolf will sign the Manifesto for the Iberian Wolf and become members of the “Friends of the Wolf” network; 60% of cattle herders and shepherds within the wolf distribution areas will be involved in project actions; At least 36 local associations will participate in the project and 80% of municipal councils will become members of the Municipal Network for the Iberian wolf; At least 70% of local schools will take part in the project, involving a total of 4 000 pupils; At least 500 citizens will participate in the project and 10 000 will sign the “Covenant of the Wolf in Andalusia”; Benchmarks for the project’s communication activities: publish 200 press releases, organise 5000 visits to a travelling exhibition; and achieve 12 000 visits to the project website; Compilation of proposals from citizens of how to improve human-wolf coexistence; and Development of wolf-related eco-tourism (two signposted trails; training courses for tour operators, rural development groups and local authorities; creation of an inventory of heritage references linked to the Iberian wolf).

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