Deadly attacks by brown bears have killed 11 cows in the past two months, farmers in one Transylvanian region say.
Local official Szabolcs Mezei said bear attacks near the town of Gheorgheni in Harghita county have been higher than last year and farmers are looking for damages for the loss of their livestock in the rural area, Transylvania Now reported.
In some instances, a bear kills the cattle but doesn’t have time to eat it, while in other cases, the bear refuses to budge until it’s finished eating, even if there are dogs or hunters around.
Romania banned bear hunting in 2016, a move praise by environmental groups and animal rights activists.
Romania has a population of at least 6,000 bears, most of them in the northwest Transylvania region. The brown bear is an endangered species.
Bears in the region sometimes descend onto farms, villages and towns in search of food, including from rubbish bins and containers, or be fed by curious tourists.
The government pays compensation to farmers whose livestock has been killed by bears, according to the weight of a cow, but the funds don’t cover the cost of buying new dairy cattle, farmers claim and compensation is slow.
The legal procedure for compensation involves a local investigation and must be done before a bear has had time to eat the remains of the cattle.
Mezei said he has heard about five or six cases where farmers don’t even report the killing.
Local farmers and hunters say if there was a government permit allowing for bears to be hunted, there would be fewer cows killed.