Nearly 300 NGOs support wolf protection in open letter to President von der Leyen

Posted on 18 December 2023

Today, almost 300 NGOs reiterated in an open letter to President von der Leyen that any decision to change the protection status of wolves must be based on reliable scientific data.
Dear President von der Leyen,
On behalf of the almost 300 undersigned environmental and animal protection organisations, we are writing with regard to the European Commission’s commitment to “decide on a proposal to modify, where appropriate, the status of protection of the wolf within the EU and to update the legal framework, to introduce, where necessary, further flexibility” by the end of the year.
It is of significant concern that a policy decision on such a crucial issue is being prepared in such a non-transparent manner. Moreover, it is based on an irregular consultation process that was launched by the Commission’s press release on ‘Wolves in Europe’ on 4 September 2023, which included misleading information regarding wolves. Our concerns about this were outlined to you in our letter dated 11 September 2023.
We would like to re-emphasise that any decision to change the protection status of wolves must be based on reliable scientific data, according to the provisions of the relevant legislation, and not on anecdotal evidence submitted through a non-transparent and irregular consultation process. Furthermore, we are concerned that the discussion of this issue has so far been largely dominated and driven by farming industry and hunting interest representatives, who are keen to position themselves as speaking on behalf of rural communities. Yet the reality is that there is actually a high degree of support among rural communities for the strict protection of wolves in the EU, as shown by an independent survey, commissioned by several animal protection organisations, which was carried out in November 2023 in 10 Member States.
Unless there is substantial new science-based evidence gathered by the European Commission services, we believe the science and public opinion are clear: the modification of the protection status of the wolf - either under the EU law or the Bern Convention - is not justified.

Read the full letter.
European Wolf
Protecting wolves in Europe is not only a matter of ecological significance, but also a reflection of our commitment to biodiversity conservation and the values of coexistence and tolerance.
© Jan Noack / WWF Germany