Romania’s main hunting association wants to know how many bears actually live in the country.
The appeal from the pro-hunting group came amid an uproar over the killing of a large brown bear by a prince from the Liechtenstein royal family.
Prince Emanuel von und zu Liechtenstein apparently killed the bear known as Arthur in March. The case only became public a few days ago.
Critics have voiced outrage that the prince allegedly used his influence and money to bypass a 2016 hunting ban.
Romania’s ban allows ‘derogations’ or exemptions for troublesome or aggressive bears which threaten humans and wildlife.
Two animal rights group accused the prince of getting a permit to kill a problematic bear and instead killing Arthur. A permit seems to show that he paid 7,000 euros to hunt Arthur according to a report by Pro-TV. The groups said the bear, a prize trophy, was the largest in Europe.
Amid the outrage, the government has ordered an investigation.
Environment Minister Barna Tanczos on Thursday said that other EU nations such as Austria should help Romania by taking some of its bear population.
Romania officially has 6,000 brown bears, the largest population in Europe apart from Russia. Animal welfare groups claim there are just 2,000 bears, while hunting associations say there are 10,000.
On Friday, the Federation of Hunting Associations added its voice to the drama.
It urged authorities to “quickly clarify the circumstances” of the March hunt took place and also to “carry out a scientific study of the bear population in order to scientifically regulate its annual hunting quota.”
„We are convinced that (authorities) acted in full compliance with the law and we consider that the extraction of aggressive brown bear specimens is fully justified,” it said.
“It is not possible to compare human life to the life of an animal. The recent attacks of brown bears, which have resulted in the injury of several Romanians and even to deaths.”
It said the hunting ban was “not in all cases a welcome measure and does not lead to the protection of the species,” it said in a statement reported by national news agency Agerpres.