Bear regulation: Government coalition agrees in principle to new draft law

At a meeting on Wednesday, the Romanian government coalition discussed the draft law for bear regulation presented by Environmental Protection Minister Barna Tánczos two weeks ago. The coalition partners gave their agreement in principle to the law, which would allow for the immediate removal of dangerous bears, Ludovic Orban, the president of the National Liberal Party, announced after the meeting. According to Orban, some details of the draft legislation still need to be finalized, Hungarian newspaper Krónika reports.

Prime Minister Florin Cîţu did not attend the discussion; however, Ludovic Orban is convinced that the prime minister has no objections to the draft. According to the chairman of the largest government party, it is obvious that the presence of bears in inhabited areas has grown significantly.

“I like bears, but I prefer humans. I think that we need a mechanism to regulate taking action against bears that appear in populated areas,” Orban said. According to the leader of PNL, the draft defines the situations in which intervention is necessary.

Environmental Protection Minister Barna Tánczos said after the meeting that he will present the draft of the emergency government decree to the prime minister, and the government might discuss it on Thursday. Tánczos, a member of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (known by its Hungarian acronym of RMDSZ), announced just a couple of days ago that the draft law was completed and would be subjected to an interdepartmental approval procedure. In his opinion, every political party will prioritize saving human lives and together will make the best decision, in order to protect the people.

In an interview with Krónika, Barna Tánczos said that when human lives are at risk, immediate intervention is necessary, like in the case of firefighters. According to current legislation, dangerous bears might be removed or shot in 60 days, and the procedure involves a lot of bureaucracy. The minister stressed that over the past five years, the number of emergency calls indicating a bear threat has increased tenfold in Romania, and while before there were nine counties in which people regularly asked for help, nowadays inhabitants of 13 counties call for help because of the big game.

Bear regulation is necessary in Romania — just over the last couple of weeks, bears have attacked six people in Hargita (Harghita in Romanian) and Kovászna (Covasna) counties, and most recently, the wild animal injured a child in Gelence (Ghelința) in broad daylight in the center of the village.

Title image: Over the last couple of years, bears have killed 53 people in Hargita County. Photo: Székelyhon/ Beliczay László

Author: Orsi Sarány