Issues

Bear problem: Mayor of Tusnádfürdő asks for help in open letter

The mayor of Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad), Tibor Albert, addressed an open letter to the leaders of the country regarding the bear problem in the city and the region, stressing that the right to life, bodily integrity and property are being endangered by the presence of the big game. Tibor Albert asks for help in the letter he sent to President Klaus Iohannis, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, the Senate and the House of Representatives, Székelyhon.ro reports.

As the mayor notes in his letter, the residents of Tusnádfürdő are struggling every day with the presence of the big game; currently, three mothers with six cubs, a very aggressive male, and two approximately three-year-old bears appear regularly on the streets. For this reason, the authorities are alerted very often.

According to the mayor, not only the residents, but tourists visiting the spa town are also threatened by the animals, preventing them from exercising their right to life and bodily integrity. The mayor points out that the Constitution of Romania and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union guarantee these rights. The mayor lists further law violations in the letter. According to him, bears often enter homes, causing damage and endangering the properties of the residents, thus also endangering the right to property, a right that is also guaranteed by the country’s Constitution (Article 44) and Charter (Article 17).

The mayor of Tusnádfürdő, Tibor Albert. Photo: Kovács Hont Imre/Hargita Népe

“Following the regulations, as a local authority, we have no right and no funds to solve the bear issue; however, we receive statements every day, on the phone and in writing,” the letter reads. It also says that the municipality purchased, distributed and installed electric fences for the residents, but this will not solve their problem. That is why they are proposing to estimate and update the intervention and preventive hunting quota ordered by the Law for Game Protection and Hunting 407/2006. The mayor added that when estimating the bear population and the hunting quota, the authorities should take into consideration the statements of the residents and interventions of the gendarmerie. Tibor Albert thinks that the establishment of a big game sanctuary to keep the bears away could also solve their issues.

“In our opinion, human life is above all else,” the letter reads. The mayor also asks the leaders and residents of other cities and villages facing the same issue to join them.

Árpád Sárkány, Vice-President of the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC), told local newspaper Krónika that several Hunting Associations have sued the ministry for violating and not applying the hunting law, but the authorities did not dare approve a hunting quota in an election year. According to the expert, the competent authorities are afraid that it may provoke huge protests among the urban population.

Sárkány also stressed – referring to a proposal of the Minister of Environment from a few days ago – that electric fences and bear sanctuaries will not solve this issue. “The whole country is a bear sanctuary. Nothing will be solved by creating another one,” he said.

Title image: Currently three mothers with six cubs, a very aggressive male, and two younger bears appear regularly on the streets of Tusnádfürdő. Photo: Székelyhon/Pinti Attila

Author: Orsi Sarány