The recent killing of a brown bear by Prince Emanuel von und zu Liechtenstein has caused an uproar in Romania where it happened.
Critics say the prince used his influence and money to buy a hunting permit to illegally shoot a trophy bear known as “Arthur’’ that was under special protection.
Angry Romanians flooded the Google page of Riegersburg Castle that the Liechtenstein royal family owns in Austria after the case came to light on Wednesday.
They gave the site bad reviews, taking its score down to 2.2 out of a possible 5 by Thursday lunchtime
The previous day it had a score of 4.6 which gradually slipped as more Romanians expressed their disapproval, G4Media reported.
One message read: “Going there will sustain the prince’s passion for killing wild animals,” while another read:“Bears will destroy you.” Others simply wrote “Arthur, Romania” and gave the castle a single star, the lowest possible score.
Later, Google appeared to have removed the bulk of the negative comments and poor ratings, and the castle reverted to its original score.
A Romanian member of the European Parliament said he’d notified the European Commission about the bear killing.
.”Prince Arthur of Romania. I have notified the European Commission! I received the news that the Prince of Liechtenstein was allowed to shoot the bear as a special exemption from national and European laws” MEP Nicu Stefanuta wrote on Facebook.
“It is yet another example that in Romania money makes people turn a blind eye. But I don’t want the country to be a safari destination for any prince anywhere in the world. ”
The Romanian government announced an investigation into the killing on Wednesday.
Romania’s Agent Green and Austrian group VGT said in a joint statement on Wednesday that that Prince Emanuel von und zu Liechtenstein visited Romania in March this year.
He came to Romania under the pretense of shooting a female bear for which the Romanian government had issued a special hunting exemption, they said.
However, the bear the prince shot was a male called that was being monitored by an Agent Green ranger. The groups said he had always kept away from villages.
„It is clear that the prince did not come to solve the problem of the locals, but to kill the bear and take home the biggest trophy to hang it on the wall. We are dealing with a game of poaching, since they shot the wrong bear,” said Agent Green chairman Gabriel Paun in his statement.
Mr Stefanuta notified Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius on Thursday that “bear hunting is prohibited through the Habitats Directive and Romanian existing legislation.”
“However, the environment ministry approves hunting quotas in order to reduce the numbers when there are too many and (bears) are considered harmful to people.”
He claimed that trophy hunters „can pay between 5,000 and 20,000 euros ”.
Romania has an estimated 6,000 brown bears the largest population of any EU country. Environment groups claim the real number is 2,000 while hunting groups say it is 10,000.