‘Environmental terrorism’: Horror wolf beheadings condemned in Spain (GRAPHIC PHOTOS)

© Rafael Marchante
Images of a decapitated wolf’s head tied to road-sign in Spain have outraged conservationists, bringing the topic of hunting back into the national spotlight.

The grisly discovery was made on Monday in the principality of Asturias, El Mundo reports. The cruel act is thought to be a sign of deepening disdain for conservation management brewing amongst either local farmers or poachers.

The predator has undergone something of a renaissance in recent decades, with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimating that the wolf population has swelled to 2,500 on the Iberian Peninsula.

However, with the rise of the wolf has come increased attacks on livestock. There have been up to 15,000 recorded attacks on farm animals in the last five years, according to El Mundo.

An association of forest rangers, known as AVISPA, suggested to La Voz de Asturias that a recent string of wolf decapitations is “revenge” for government “wolf management” carried out by locals.

AVISPA has called for the Office of Environment in Asturias to conduct a full investigation, Tribunasoria reports, describing the beheadings as an act of “environmental terrorism.”

The group has already documented previous animal killings perpetrated by poachers in the area.

Spanish Police have appealed to the public for information concerning the recent wolf deaths, in which two of the animals’ heads were hacked from their bodies.  

The Association of Guardians of the Environment of Asturias suspect that the animal found on Monday may have actually died of natural causes before it was beheaded with a machete or an axe and strung to a signpost for all to see.

Nonetheless, the group called for “greater vigilance” in order to prevent similar macabre incidents from happening after three other wolves were found dead in the area over the past month.

Lobo Marley, a wolf protection advocate group, has condemned the latest beheading.

“From my point of view, much more deadly than the death of the animal is the display of corpses in this way,” Lobo Marley’s president, Luis Miguel Dominguez Mencia, told El Mundo.

Earlier this year, activists marched en masse to demand greater protection for the Iberian wolf, which can still be hunted by those obtaining special licenses.