Romania made the wrong decision in 2016 not to intervene to reduce its bear population, Romanian Environment Minister Barna Tánczos said in an interview with national news agency Agerpres.
“Romania made a completely wrong decision in 2016 when it decided not to intervene in the development of the bear population at all,” said Tánczos, adding that it was easily predictable that such a decision in the case of a large predator at the top of the food chain will lead to slow but sure population growth.
Asked about Agerpres whether a report that Romania had a bear population of 10,800 five years ago, Tánczos said the ministry is not even sure about the actual size of the problem, therefore it will issue a tender to estimate the current bear population in the country. The bear census is expected to take place in the second half of this year.
“Lack of intervention will lead to huge problems. Inaction is not the answer. Looking from the outside and saying that maybe it will be good, maybe it won’t be good – maybe accidents will happen, maybe bears will show up on the ski slopes, maybe not… That’s not a solution,” he said.
Tánczos believed that bears should be protected, as should their natural habitats, but above all, humans should be protected.
“We can’t get half of the bear population to leave their natural habitat and wake up with them inside our settlements, schoolyards, hills, and fields. We’re slowly reaching that point,” he said. Tánczos also said that while the European Union generally wants to protect bears, so far 17 member states have indicated in writing that they do not want to accept any bears from Romania.
In the last five years, bears have killed or injured 1,120 domestic animals, and due to bear attacks, 54 people have needed hospital treatment and two people have died. Traffic accidents caused by bears are also common in Romania.
Title image: A bear roams in the spa resort of Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad) in Transylvania, Romania.