Is the economic “crisis” in Spain helping the Iberian wolf?

lobo_iberico1An interesting article in the Guardian about the Iberian Wolf states that Spain is now a wolf stronghold and there are thought to be more than 250 breeding groups totaling more than 2,000 individuals. But, is the Spanish economic “crisis” really the reason for population increase or is it because of better education, local awareness and more land under the protective arm of natural and national parks?

See also the Iberianature Forum Topic – Wolves in Spain

Wolves traditionally flourish in times of political and economic crisis. Their return to Europe in the past 20 years is thought to be linked to widespread rural depopulation and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The demise of the USSR saw a near 50% increase in the number of wolves in the 1990s, as animals that had been kept under control by state-sponsored culling were left to roam unchecked and many packs crossed into sparsely populated areas of Poland, Germany and Scandinavia.Some conservationists say the economic recession in Spain, Portugal, Greece and elsewhere has also helped them spread into new areas. “People have migrated from rural areas, allowing the wolf to reoccupy abandoned land. The recession has left less money for farmers to protect their animals, says Su├írez. “More money in the economy means more money for protection. Worse circumstances in the recession have seen a progression of rural people to the cities and an increase in wolf numbers,” he says.

Click here to see the whole article at The Guardian.