Wolf & Bio project

  • Country:
  • Start year:
  • Location:
    Riaño (North East of León, Castilla y León, Spain)
  • Size (ha):
  • Area Type:
  • Type of protection:
    Regional Park

Wolf observation tourism is becoming an important economic resource for the Riaño Mountains area (Castilla y León region). The Project aims to collect money from tourism to fund initiatives focused on improving the livestock management and reducing conflicts between wolves and humans.

A group of observers watch for wolves in the mountains of Riaño at dawn


  • Habitat types: Oak and beech forest, heather lands, grasslands and rocky slopes.
  • Keystone species present: brown bear, Iberian wolf
  • Fauna (mega) species present: Cantabrian chamois, wildcat, Cantabrian capercaillie, black and middle spotted woodpecker, wallcreeper, snowfinch
  • Fauna species reintroduced: Iberian ibex


  • Description: The present management of the Wolf in the North of Spain is much influenced by confronted passions and pressures from shepherds & hunters, instead of a biological approach. The Project aims to demonstrate the economic and ecological value of the Wolf to put on evidence for the necessity of a technical and coherent management, adding tourism to the balance as an important force in favour of conservation. The Project invests money from tourism in the prevention of Wolf attacks to reduce conflicts.
  • Aim: Reduce the conflict between livestock keepers, hunters and ecologists, advancing towards a technical management of the Wolf as an irreplaceable element of the ecosystem, necessary for the conservation of the natural processes in an ecosystemic view of the area.
  • Vision: Agreement of the managers of the Park and locals about the Wolf as an important element for the economic development of the Park through ecotourism. Regulation of hunting and population control taking note of the real value and significance of the Wolf for the local economy and the ecosystem.
  • Accomplished in 10 years from now: Respect and understanding in the relations between Wolf observers, ecotourist companies, livestock keepers, hunters and managers of the natural areas and hunting reserves. Management of livestock taking Wolf presence into account. Management of the Wolf according to technical and scientific knowledge.
  • Uniqueness: Private initiative combining business and conservationist approach and implicating the whole local community and the main sectors in the area.
  • Results so far: Spectacular increase in ecotourist activity in the Picos de Europa Regional Park from one year to the next. Change to an expectant attitude regarding the Project from local organisations, conservationists and government.
  • Flagship species: Wolf
  • Other characteristics: Eco tourism, Recreational activities


  • Inspirational value: .
  • Experience you would like to share: Results on using ecotourism private business as a way to reach conservation goals and change mentality about large carnivores.
  • Experience you would like to gain: Resolution of conflicts that arise from ecotouristic use of the fauna with conservationist organisations and governments or managers of the natural areas.


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