Wolves in Europe, an Open Letter to Commission President Von Der Leyen from FACE

Last 15 November, the European Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FACE) sent an open letter signed by Torbjörn Larsson, President of FACE, on behalf of FACE Members, representing 7 million hunters in Europe, to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, calling on her to move forward following the recent consultation on wolves in Europe. “The situation is getting urgent and critical on the ground. We need practical solutions, and it's not just for the wolf,” says David Scallan, FACE Secretary General in a video (see link below). “We've recently seen the Finnish brown bear system, that was working well, breaking because of confusion around flexibility and the Commission's guidance on strict species protection.”

FACE's Open Letter to the European Commission: three points

Torbjörn Larsson, President of FACE.

Larsson writes in the letter: “I wish to commend the European Commission for launching its consultation in September, gathering up-to-date data on wolf populations and their impacts. This is an important step in line with requests expressed by the European Parliament. The large number of responses received shows that the wolf impacts rural communities. We expect that the majority who engaged did so because they felt their voices have not been heard, possibly accounting for 90%+ of the responses.”

FACE urges the Commission President “to move quickly to the next step to put in place practical solutions to ensure appropriate management frameworks”, since “successful management systems continue to break with the interpretation of 'strict protection' under the Habitats Directive, coupled with confusion around the difficulty of applying 'flexibility'.” 

In FACE's view, the EU needs “a large carnivore package” to:

  1. Amend the annexes of the Habitats Directive;
  2. Clarify the flexibility in the EU guidance document on strict protection, so that this document reflects and gives real meaning to the Commissions's recent statements, notably in the press release on “Wolves in Europe” of the 4th of September 2023;
  3. Implement a new approach to assess the conservation status of the wolf in line with its transboundary ecology.

“This needs to be done soon certainly before the next European elections next June”, according to FACE.

Video: Open Letter to Commission President Von Der Leyen on wolves in Europe