Gov’t to count the bears in Romania

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Amid the increasing population of bears in the Romanian Carpathian Mountains and amid the rising of bear attacks, the government in Bucharest announced a new census project of the bear population in Romania, financed by European funds. According to the Minister of Environment, Tanczos Barna and Cristian Ghinea, Minister of Investments and European Projects, 1,000 electric fences for farmers will be purchased and a facility for housing and monitoring of animals will be built in Brasov. The bears will be monitored including by drones.

The Minister of Investments and European Funds, Cristian Ghinea: “We are trying to solve with European funds a problem that has been dragging on for several years. In 2016, the decision was made to ban bear hunting and the presumption at the time was that there was a danger of excess with this hunting and another presumption was that estimates of the bear population were not based on very solid figures. The presumption at that time was that it was a temporary decision, and a scientific census would be taken of exactly how many bears we have in Romania and then it will return. Nothing happened. Through this project we are launching this countdown. It is an 11 million euro project that is funded by POIM Axis 4 – Environmental Protection. This program will be continued for the European budget 2021-2027 by PODD, which we are working hard on these days. The counting of the bear population will be done by digital methods. We will know exactly what this population looks like. They will be means of limiting the interactions between man and bear.”

According to government officials, the project envisages the construction of a facility in Brasov where about 100 bears will be housed and monitored, including with the help of drones.

Also, over 1000 electric fences of various types and technologies will be purchased. In the coming weeks, the international tender for the purchase of these fences will be launched, which will be made available to farmers.

At the same time, a public information campaign will be implemented. “What are you allowed to do and what not, how do you act if the sheepfold will be attacked by the bear, etc. We will all be informed that it is not good to make food or food waste available to bears “, said the Minister of Environment, Tanczos Barna. The electric fence will be powered by a central unit based on solar batteries.

Regarding the census of bears, the Minister of Environment specified that not every specimen can be counted. “Sampling. It is a sample of hair and excrement that contains DNA data from each individual. There will be special equipment for sampling, storage, identification. Each package in which these samples will be taken will be identified by a bar code. There will be a very, very strict rule on the sampling methodology so as not to alter the samples.”

The Romanian government adopted last week the Emergency Ordinance providing for intervention in case of bear attacks. According to the ordinance, the intervention in the case of bears that reach the built-up areas of the localities will be done “gradually”, the extraction by shooting being mentioned if “the safety and security of citizens or property are endangered”.

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