WHY ARE WE DIFFERENT?
ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS DURING THE ACTIVITY
Tourism focussing on a certain species should never be more important than the conservation of said species. As governmental regulation of so-called “ecotourism” is practically non-existent, the term is usually used out of mere financial reasons.
The wolf is an intensely persecuted species, especially in a game reserve like the Sierra de la Culebra. Our mere presence in sensitive environments, without keeping an adequate distance, makes the animal develop evasive behaviour as a consequence of stress, which in its turn could influence its surviving abilities.
The use of bait-stations (where possibilities of a sighting are the highest) brings with it a series of problems. If the animal grows accustomed to our presence, it might become more vulnerable when faced with other human activities, such as hunting, either legal or illegal (poaching), especially when the same bait-stations are used to hunt or photograph them, or for ecotourism with dubious intentions.
Apart from it being unethical and even illegal, the use of such bait-stations, occasionally or regularly, brings with it other modifications in the behaviour of the wolves. Hunting is a unifying element for the packs, and these practices could destroy their social structure.
The Sierra de la Culebra is, on a European level, a reference area where wolves still hunt their original prey, without having to resort to garbage or domestic cattle, which makes these practices even more condemnable.
If you contract a service to observe wolves, and you notice that the animals are behaving trustingly from a short distance, or spot arranged natural elements that make their observation easier, you can safely assume that the wolves are being baited. Observing the wolf in the wild, without modifying its natural behaviour, is much more complicated, yet infinitely more gratifying an experience when contact is finally established.
“The co-responsibility of commercial tourism in the death of wolves in the Sierra de la Culebra, Zamora“