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Europe’s political divide over the return of wolves

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on the Financial Times or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Wolf populations in Spain are rising, causing tension between conservation efforts and rural communities
• Protected under EU wildlife laws, wolves have expanded their range significantly
• This resurgence is credited to EU wildlife protection measures

🔭 The context: Wolves bring ecological benefits, controlling wild ungulate populations that harm agriculture
• However, the rapid increase in wolf numbers has led to more frequent livestock attacks, particularly in regions like Cantabria
• Farmers feel unprepared and unsupported by regional and national governments

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Rewilding initiatives, including the recovery of large carnivores, are crucial for biodiversity and ecosystem balance
• However, successful coexistence with humans is essential to ensure sustainable conservation
• Balancing ecological benefits with the needs of rural communities is vital for long-term success

⏭️ What's next: The EU is debating the downlisting of wolves from "strictly protected" to "protected" status, which could allow for more flexible management
• The outcome will be decided in December at a Bern Convention meeting
• Finding a middle ground between conservation and rural community concerns is crucial

💬 One quote: “The wolf has become a bit of a symbol of the concerns rural communities [have about] not being understood by the urban elite” (Bas Eickhout, European Greens candidate)

📈 One stat: The EU wolf population has increased by 81% since 2012, with approximately 20,300 wolves now present across the continent

Click for more news covering the latest on biodiversity

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