The former Environment minister, UDMR Senator Tanczos Barna will submit a draft bill in Parliament intended to regulate, as a transitory measure, the control of the expansion of brown bear habitats, respectively the reintroduction of hunting based on a quota established on the basis of studies carried out by research institutes and universities in Romania.
“We have started collecting signatures for that bill by which we propose the introduction of firm measures to control the population of brown bears in Romania based on studies carried out by research institutes and universities in Romania. Also, we already have some data from the genetic evaluation study of the brown bear population in Romania. Collecting signatures means supporting this initiative in Parliament. Of course, the first signatures come from the UDMR group, because it is an initiative of ours, the UDMR group, but dozens of other signatures appeared alongside them because the other parties also see how serious this problem is and the representatives of the other parties see that an intervention based on scientific studies, but firm, is needed to protect human life and to have a scientific control based on studies on the population of brown bears in Romania”, Tanczos Barna.
The bill provides for the reintroduction of hunting, based on quotas established following studies. “The project provides for the reintroduction of hunting based on a quota that was established by the research institute that developed the study this year, the reintroduction of rules for hunters who can put into practice the quotas provided by law. We propose a fixed quota for the years 2024 and 2025 as a first step, by trying to control the phenomenon of habitat expansion and the phenomenon of population growth,” the senator argued.
According to him, thousands of bear specimens live in overpopulated habitats. “We proposed the introduction of a hunting quota for the years 2024 and 2025. If the Parliament takes this decision, it is practically a transitional measure until the ministry approves, in turn, those elements that should be in the ministry’s fence, but in at the moment, as far as I can see, there is no availability of prompt, decisive and effective intervention in this field,” Tanczos Barna said.
Bear census reports at least 3,000 bears living in Romania
A working group, Association for the Professional Management of Hunting Fauna, carried out a study, a bear census.
The head of the working group that carried out the study, Barna Benedek, told the Székelyhon portal that the preliminary results of the bear census based on genetic evidence prove that thousands of bears in Romania do not have a suitable habitat.
Based on the results of the research, the authorities would modify the management of the protected population of brown bears, which pose increasingly serious problems in localities. The working group is made up of experts from Covasna County and from the Buzău County Association of Sport Hunting and Fishing. 300 people carry out field work, collecting hair, tissue and excrement samples for genetic sampling – the portal reports.
So far, more than 8,000 samples have been analyzed and it was found that one out of three samples comes from a different animal, so the existence of almost 3,000 bears has already been proven. According to Barna Benedek, if the results continue to follow this trend, it will be possible to prove the existence of approximately 6,000 specimens. However, this figure is far from representing the total population, it can be increased by 25-30%, because it is impossible to obtain genetic samples from all bears, many of them live in places inaccessible to people, the expert told the news website.
He recalled that the “Marian Drăcea” National Forestry Research and Development Institute, following a habitat study, concluded that there is sufficient habitat in the country for at most 4,000 bears, so it can be said that 2,000 animals they are forced to live outside their natural habitat.
“I maintain that these bears that enter villages, towns, houses, begging for food from motorists, should be shot, because they already transmit this behavior to their cubs. This is the only way to reverse and eliminate this behavioral anomaly,” said Barna Benedek.
According to the expert, relocation is not a solution, 99% of relocated animals return to the place from where they were taken or cause similar problems in the new location.
He warned that 10% of the habitats suitable for bears in Romania have lost their support capacity in the last ten years, due to various investments, therefore the impact of human activity should be reduced.
He specified that the census of bears based on genetic samples should be completed by the end of the year, but the ministry intends to extend the contract to obtain a more accurate picture. The collection of samples can also provide valuable scientific data on the age and sex composition of the bears, on the use of the territory by the bears, as well as their range of movement, Barna Benedek pointed out.