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Sustainable Society:  A society that balances the environment, other life forms, and human interactions over an indefinite time period.













Convention on the Conservation
of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats

Standing Committee


Recommendation n 17 (1989) of the standing committee on the protection of the wolf (Canis Lupus) in Europe

 (Adopted by the Standing Committee on 8 December 1989)


            The Standing Committee of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, acting under the terms of Article 14 of the convention, 

            Having regard to the aims of the Convention for the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats; 

            Considering that the grey wolf (Canis lupus) (hereinafter referred to as  wolf ) is a fundamental part of the European natural heritage for its symbolic, scientific, ecological, educational, cultural, recreational, aesthetic and intrinsic value; 

            Recalling that Article 1, paragraph 2, of the convention requires that Contracting Parties give particular emphasis to the conservation of endangered and vulnerable species; 

            Recalling that the wolf is listed in Appendix II to the convention as a strictly protected fauna species; 

            Considering that the wolf is seriously threatened throughout Western Europe, having become extinct in the territory of many Contracting Parties and reduced to small populations in some others; 

            Considering that habitat loss, prey shortage and human persecution have been the most significant causes of its extinction (or the drastic reduction of its populations) in Western Europe; 

            Conscious that the wolf is a species that, in some circumstances, may come into conflict with human activities; 

            Recalling that, out of the eight Contracting Parties that find wolves in their territories, three have made reservations under the terms of Article 22 of the convention, which in practice means that the most important populations of wolf in Western Europe do not benefit from the protection accorded by Article 6 of the convention; 

            Recalling that in Greece and Turkey the wolf is classified as a pest; 

            Referring to the report on the status and conservation needs of the wolf (Canis lupus) in the Council of Europe member states, 

A.        Recommends that Contracting Parties: 

1.         Draw up management plans for the species in view of assuring viable populations at appropriate levels; 

2.         Favour, in order to avoid conflicts, the development of measures aimed at preventing wolf attacks on livestock, for instance by encouraging herdsmen to keep their cattle in at night, using electrical fences or dogs : encourage the maintenance and training of local races of shepherd dogs; 

3.         Establish, wherever absent, compensation schemes for damage caused by wolves to cattle and farm animals, improving the payment of compensation where such schemes already function, for instance by simplifying and accelerating administrative procedures and increasing, if required, the amounts paid; 

4.         Consider the development of general systems of insurance for wolf damage and the financing of works for the prevention of such damage; 

5.         Promote the establishment of funds to be used for financing conservation work, payment of compensation for damage caused by wolves and the socio-economic development of important wolf areas; 

6.         Consider, in important wolf areas, the reinforcement and eventual reintroduction of wild ungulates as alternative prey to livestock; facilitate, if necessary, co-operation with other Contracting Parties for such reintroduction; 

7.         Strengthen the enforcement of the ban on the use of poison, poisoned or anesthetic baits, and any other indiscriminate methods of killing, for example by introducing appropriate vigilance, setting higher penalties for infraction and carrying out the required publicity on the effects of poison on wildlife; 

8.         Take necessary measures for the marking and register of wolves reared in captivity; 

9.         Elaborate and implement plans for the elimination of stray and feral dogs; encourage research on the biology of these dogs; 

10.        Assess the impact on wolf populations of projects for public works, reforestation, touristic uses or other developments in areas known to be of importance for wolves; 

11.        Undertake the organisation of awareness campaigns, aimed at the rural populations in wolf areas and other target groups (hunters, schoolchildren, decision-makers), and support actively the voluntary groups that are already engaged in such campaigns; 

12.        Encourage research on all aspects of the biology of the wolf that may permit a more efficient management of it; carry out, in particular, the monitoring of the size, biological characteristics and geographical distribution and dispersal patterns of its populations; 

13.        Consider the possibility of carrying out captive breeding and reintroduction programmes in areas where the species has been extinct or is endangered; carry out the necessary genetic studies in order to avoid possible negative effects of introducing individuals from genetically different stocks; 

14.        Consider, while drawing up their wolf management policies, the principles and suggestions contained in the Manifesto and Guidelines on Wolf Conservation prepared by the Wolf Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), given as appendix to this recommendation;

15.        Develop, where appropriate for scientific or conservation purposes, bilateral or multilateral contacts with other states and conservation bodies and agencies, including those situated outside the present scope of the convention; 

B          Recommends that Contracting Parties that made reservations concerning the species in the sense of Article 22 of the convention or make exemptions in the sens of Article 9 of the convention; 

1.         Identify within their territories the areas with different potential value to wolf conservation, mainly of three kinds: 

            a. zones where the wolf would be fully protected, 

            b. zones from where selected wolves could be removed according to a management plan, 

            c. zones where the wolf could be hunted with only the limitations of the current hunting regulations; 

2.         Give full legal protection or enforce existing protection of the wolf in zones referred to in paragraph 1.a above; 

C.         Recommends that Finland, Norway and Sweden: 

            Continue and strengthen present efforts to co-ordinate conservation actions and research on the wolf, and consider the need and opportunity to co-ordinate, within the framework of the convention, management plans and strategies for the species in Finland, Norway and Sweden; 

D.        Recommends that Greece: 

1.         Remove the wolf from the list of pest species, 

2.         Carry out, as a matter of priority, detailed inventories of the wolf population in Greece, 

3.         Draw up a national management plan for the species, and therefore establish adequate wolf protection measures, 

4.         Look for exchange of information on management plans for wolves within the Balkan Peninsula, wherever appropriate; 

E.         Recommends that Italy: 

1.         Implement a national conservation strategy for the species, 

2.         Enforce the prohibition to possess in captivity individuals of all subspecies of Canis lupus and to release them in the wild, 

3.         Continue and improve the present captive breeding programme already started; 

F.         Recommends that Portugal and Spain: 

            Examine the need and opportunity to draw up, within the framework of the convention, a joint management plan for the population of the Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus); 

G.         Recommends that Turkey: 

1.         Remove the wolf from the list of pest species, 

2.         Carry out, as a matter of priority, detailed inventories of the wolf populations in Turkey; 

H.        Further recommends Contracting Parties where the wolf has disappeared to support actively the conservation of this species, particularly by promoting public awareness, encouraging research in its present distribution area, studying reintroduction possibilities, and collaborating with the states where wolves survive; 

I.          Invites France to assure the strict legal protection of the wolf, especially for individuals that might migrate from neighbouring states; 

J           Resolves to encourage Contracting Parties to communicate regularly to the secretariat of the convention the information on their wolf populations and/or their research programmes on the species with a view to reassessing the status of the wolf in Europe in 1992 at a second meeting of the group of experts.



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