Romania’s president has sent a law that allows for bears to be killed back to Parliament saying as it stands the law it could lead to ‘abuses’.
President Klaus Iohannis said some elements ‘are unclear and could generate problems’ amid fears that the legislation could lead to a free-for-all hunting season.
Bear hunting is currently tightly controlled and pro-hunting lobby says bear numbers need to be kept down as attacks on humans and animals have become more common.
But the president, whose role is to ensure laws are fair and clear, said: “Parliament needs to find a balance between protecting people’s lives and preventing attacks by wild animals that are part of a protected species and finding a safe climate for communities that are directly affected. (The law) also needs to protect the species,” the statement on Monday said.
Parliament passed a law on December 15 outlining the circumstances in which dangerous bears could be shot. The law was then sent to the president who needs to sign off on laws.
The new law extended the areas where bears could be legally hunted, drawing criticism from animal rights and conservationist groups.
But Environment Tamczos Barna Minister who is pro-hunting said the law needed to be changed to protect people and their livelihoods from bear attacks.
Reacting to the latest development, he said: “Certain articles will be reformulated to eliminate 99.9% of abuses.”
Romania banned bear hunting in 2016. There are an estimated 6,000 brown bears in Romania, more than any other country in Europe apart from Russia.
Bears have left their natural habitat in recent years as forests have disappeared. The animals are sometime sighted in mountain villages and resorts or near forests searching for food.
Hunting groups want the ban overturned. But animal rights groups fear that overturning the ban will give the green light to large hunting parties and uncontrolled culling of the animals.