27 September 2019 – On 25th September, Romania’s Senate passed a bill under which – for a period of five years – hunting brown bears is no longer restricted to annual quotas approved by the Environment Ministry. The bill is intended to reduce human conflict with bears but global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS warns Romania against the fatal impacts the new law will have on the nation’s biodiversity and ecosystems. Without a detailed and independent scientific assessment of the bear population in Romania such measures could have catastrophic consequences for the wild population and instigate a bear massacre. Therefore, FOUR PAWS has started a global petition to call on the Romanian government to reject the proposal.
With an estimated 7,000 bears, Romania has the largest bear population in Europe. According to FOUR PAWS, the soon-to-be-introduced hunting law could change that. So far, it has been legal to kill 600 brown bears in Romania each year. However, for the next five years there will be no restrictions.
“This law is an infringement to the European legislation that places bears in the list of species with strict protection since 1953 and whose conservation requires the designation of special conservation areas. Romania must uphold European Directives and protect bears and large carnivores. We prompt the Romanian government to urgently reject this irresponsible law which will lead to mass killing of bears.”
Ioana Dungler, Director of Wild Animals at FOUR PAWS
Human-bear conflict as reasoning
The introduction of the new law is due to the ongoing emotional debate on human-bear conflicts in Romania. Illegal logging has reduced and fragmented the brown bears’ natural habitat which has led to bears intruding onto human territories looking for food. “The Senate’s proposal has no scientific backing and is also not the solution to the problem. We want the Romanian government to release official statistics and put forward scientific data on bears in Romania that would contribute to passing new laws,” so Dungler.
FOUR PAWS has started a global petition to call on the Romanian Chamber of Deputies to reject the proposal: https://help.four-paws.org/en/say-no-unlimited-hunting-bears-romania
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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org