The wolf is designated by the European Union as a species of “community interest” requiring protection and conservation, under the following agreements:

The Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (known as the Berne Convention): the wolf is included in Appendix II as a strictly protected species. However, amongst the countries that have signed the Convention, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey have made reservations excluding the wolf from this protection.

The Berne Convention has adopted an Action Plan for the conservation of wolves in Europe, which requires management of wolf populations across borders and the formulation of individual action plans for each country.

The wolf is, however, classified by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as being of ‘Least Concern’ in Europe, as although it is endangered or vulnerable at national level in several countries (Sweden/Norway, Germany, France), at European level it is increasing in both numbers and range.

Photo Credit: Jan Walencik

Wolves are however still legally hunted in a number of European countries that are not members of the European Union, including Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, FYR Macedonia and Albania. Limited legal hunting is also carried out in Finland, Norway, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Spain. Sweden has been investigated by the European Commission recently for attempting to reinstate limited hunting to control wolf numbers and increase tolerance amongst hunters and livestock owners.

In European culture, there is a deep-rooted negative image of the wolf, based on fear of wolf attacks on humans, and the loss of livestock, and therefore livelihood, to wolf depredation. These factors, together with loss of suitable habitat to development and agriculture, and reduction in numbers of prey species, are the main obstacles to conservation and recovery of wolves in Europe in the 21st century.


Responses to " Wolves of Europe : Documentary on the Return of the European Wolf (Video)"

  1. Viewing the great grandparents of the dog is always worthwhile, if only to remind us that we share this planet with myriad other forms of life, and that if this rich variety of fauna (and flora) are to survive the effects of humanity as something other than a distant memory,then we, the humans, must afford them the means to survive in the wild. Which, in its turn, means that we have to keep wild enough of our planet to assure the robust natural reproduction of the native animals and plants therein.

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