Romania finally tackles bear overpopulation

“At its meeting today, the government gave the green light for the emergency decree regulating the removal of bears endangering human life in settlements. This means that any big game that endangers the population within a settlement can be removed immediately,” Minister of Environmental Protection Barna Tánczos announced on Wednesday afternoon. The ministry has been working on this law for weeks; the new decree allows mayors to remove dangerous bears within 24 hours.

According to the politician, a member of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (known by its Hungarian acronym of RMDSZ), it wasn’t easy to reach this decision, as they had to convince those not threatened by bears every day in their homes and towns that the emergency ordinance was justified.

“According to the emergency government decree accepted today, an emergency intervention group will be established at each local government. Under this law, these emergency intervention groups are led by the mayor, or in some cases by the deputy mayor. According to the law, these are the people who, based on professional opinions, may decide how to immediately remove the animals,” Barna Tánczos announced on his Facebook page. According to the politician, mayors can choose from three options based on the danger the bear represents: scare the big game away, anesthetize and relocate them, or euthanize/shoot.

Locals, not Bucharest, should say if a bear is dangerous or not. Photo: Csaba Borboly Facebook Page

“I believe that Bucharest should not say which bears are terrorizing a specific settlement, so we decentralized the process of decision making: The mayor or deputy-mayor, knowing the local conditions, based on professional opinions and risk classification, may decide which method of intervention to use. The current legislation also guarantees that our mayors should not be afraid to protect their community from danger and to act bravely, protected by the law,” Barna Tánczos detailed.

The new law allows the immediate intervention of dangerous bears. In order for the procedure to start, citizens must alert the authorities about the presence of a bear or of a bear attack on the 112 emergency number. Then, the emergency services will notify the  intervention group in that municipality.

Minister of Environmental Protection, Barna Tánczos. Photo: Barna Tánczos Facebook Page

The members of these groups are the mayor or the deputy mayor, the members of the local gendarmerie, the technical staff of local hunting associations, and a veterinarian. If a municipality does not have a contract with the wild game management fund or if the technical staff of the hunting association cannot be present at the intervention, the professional staff of the forest guard must participate.

“A tracking collar is placed on anesthetized and relocated bears, which is covered from the budget of the Ministry of the Environmental Protection. In addition, as is the case with each emergency government decree, the Ministry must also accept the application methodology. Meanwhile, the emergency government decree will be in force, so, as long as administrative procedures are cleared, the local municipalities will be able to request the services of the forest guard if they do not have a contract with hunting associations and veterinarians,” State Secretary at the Ministry of Environmental Protection Róbert Szép said.

Title image: Nowadays, inhabitants of 13 counties call for help because of the big game. Photo: Medveakadémia Facebook Page

Author: Orsi Sarány