Changes in societal attitudes towards wildlife in Spain

An assessment using admissions to wildlife recovery centres
Public attitudes towards wildlife in Spain have changed substantially as a result of massive spontaneous relocation of people from villages to big cities, during the last few decades following the economic development of the country. The Spanish society has shifted quickly from intense persecution and exploitation of wildlife (for consumption or to eradicate predators and competitors) to strict protection. Our study, aimed to prove those societal changes by analyzing patterns of change in the causes of admission of birds to three major wildlife rehabilitation centres (WRCs), located in a southern European region (Comunidad Valenciana, Eastern Spain) since the early 1990s. During this period, 111,314 wild birds were admitted to the three centres, although for this study we focused on records of birds associated within three groups of causes: a) Deliberate: admissions of wildlife purposefully injured or dead by human activity, such as illegal hunting or poaching; b) Accidental: admissions of wildlife with injuries or death caused by human activity or infrastructures, such as drowning, collision, electrocution, roadkill or accidental trapping, among others; and c) Natural: admissions in which neither direct nor indirect human action seemed to be involved (e.g., orphaned young birds; cases of malnutrition or illness, injuries or infection, or caused by natural processes such as predation or inclement weather).


Long-term shifts in admissions of birds to wildlife recovery centres reflect changes in societal attitudes towards wildlife in Spain. Jiménez, J., Crespo, J., Martínez-Abraín, A. 2022. Ardeola. doi:

Juan Jiménez is the head of the Wildlife Service within the environmental agency of the regional government of Valencia (Generalitat Valenciana). He did his Doctoral Thesis in otter ecology, and professionally he has dedicated himself to protected areas and wildlife, and hunting and fishing regulation. In recent years, apart from administrative work, he is particularly interested in historical changes in the relationship between humans and wildlife.

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