An order signed on the last day of his mandate at the ministry by the former Environment minister of Romania, Tanczos Barna, is allowing hundreds of brown bears to be killed in the country. It sets a quota of 426 bears, under the excuse of posing a danger to humans. The order was sent to the Romanian Academy for approval in June 2023 after which it will be published in the Official Gazette.
Agent Green, an Environmental NGO in Romania, said the order is a serious mistake that will decimate the bear population in Romania, one of the last bastions in Europe of these rare animals. Agent Green’s lawyer, Catalina Radulescu, said, “The brown bear is a species protected at the European level, which is very important for maintaining the balance of ecosystems. Because it is a species that can move over long distances, EU member states must manage this species so that it is habitable…Agent Green recently published a petition submitted to the European Parliament and a detailed report on the legislation managing these bear species. This legislation from Romania violates European legislation, endangering both the species’ conservation objectives and the citizens’ life and safety….“This hunting takes place without any kind of environmental supervision, even in the bears’ natural environment, which is absolutely prohibited by European legislation.”
It is not known how many bears are in Romania but most unofficial estimates say at least 6,000, or around 60% of the entire European population, excluding Russia.
Bears are the number one mammal killed for trophies in the world. In May 2021, Austrian Prince Emanuel von and Zu Liechtenstein killed a bear called Arthur in Romania who was one of the largest bears in Europe. The prince, a trophy hunter, admitted to hunting in Romania. This episode raised suspicions that the Environment Ministry is encouraging bear hunts under the pretext that they are dangerous to people.