Romanian authorities under fire for letting injured bear lie on road for 18 hours

Rokmania’s Environment Minister Costel Alexe expressed outrage about the case of an injured bear that was left overnight at the side of the road after it was hit by a car.

The story of the bear that was left in agony as officials dithered about what do dominated the news over the weekend and evoked furious reactions on social media, raising fresh questions about animal welfare and the way officials acted in the situation.  

The accident occurred on Saturday evening when a car hit the animal. Nobody in the car was injured. Authorities were alerted quickly to the case, but the local vet doctor didn’t have tranquilizer so he had to call a colleague for help, before he could assess its condition. The bear was finally tranquilized after 14 hours. When vets diagnozed it with three broken legs, it was euthanized 17 hours after it was hit. Traffic was restricted in the area for 18 hours.

“How cynical and inhuman can you be to let an injured animal lie in agony?” Alexe said. “In exceptional situations, there are exceptional measures that can be taken. “

Alexe called a meeting with officials to discuss how the situation was mishandled and insisted that local authorities were legally authorized to take action on Saturday evening.

On Monday, Interior minister Marcel Vela dismissed the Harghita county prefect for the way the local authorities mishandled the case.

But the head of the Harghita County Council wrote on Facebook that local authorities didn’t have the freedom to act in such cases.

He said Romania’s current centralized system means the environment ministry must approve the killing of any bear which caused the delay, Mediafax news agency reported.

Romania has about 6,000 brown bears. Normally, they would hibernate at this time of year, but the unseasonably warm weather means some have not yet prepared for hibernation.


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