Romania environment minister says he’s begun talks to get a hunting ban on bears lifted in cases where the animal has attacked humans or livestock and is considered ‘dangerous’.
Minister Barna Tanczos said Monday he wants the current legislation changed to allow local authorities the right to shoot or sedate a bear within 24 hours of a bear attack.
„I have initiated consultations with local groups and institutions about recent bears attacks in Szekler land (a region in Transylvania). (The idea is) to change the legislation to permit local authorities to intervene a maximum of 24 hours after an attack. (This could be done) either by sedation or shooting”, he said on Facebook.
The minister said he was scheduled to meet local mayors, hunting organizations and farmers associations later Monday to discuss the issue.
In recent days, there were three bear attacks in the region. A 54-year-old shepherd had six hours of surgery on Saturday after he was mauled while he was tending his sheep.
On Monday, a man was attacked in his back garden by a female bear with two cubs, the Environment Protection Agency in Covasna county said. He fought back with an ax. He was treated for head and chest injuries.
A 53-year-old man was attacked by a bear on Sunday while he was checking his electric fence. He also needed surgery. Both men survived.
„We have a huge responsibility, and we have to make the best rational decisions together on this topic” he added. The minister, who comes from a rural area which has a large number of bears, supports hunting.
Romania banned bear hunting in 2016. The country has an estimated 6,000 brown bears, more than any other country in Europe apart from Russia.
Bears have left their natural habitat in recent years as forests have disappeared. The animal 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.