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July 12, 2024
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Bear Population in Romania is Lower than Estimated, DNA Study Shows

The bear population in Romania is lower than initially estimated, says the most recent DNA study conducted by a Romanian foundation According to the volunteers, who studied the bear population in the Fagaras Mountains for the last two years, the actual number of bears in Romania is 25% less than the official figures.

For two years in a row, the volunteers from Conservation Carpathia Foundation collected 1,700 DNA samples from bears and sent them to a laboratory in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The results bluntly contradicted the official figures.

We got a density of 17-18 bears per hundred square kilometers. The official data show around 21 bears per hundred square kilometers. These official data are subjective and shouldn’t be used in the management of this species in Romania.

Ruben Iosif, biologist, Conservation Carpathia Foundation

The fact is that the Romanian authorities seem to have been using the data in the wrong way. More precisely, the collection of this data is the problem. The Romanian Ministry of Environment and Forests use the forest rangers’ observations to count the bear population. How precise can they be?

It is certain that a bear travels on 2, 3 or even 5 hunting areas. It is possible for the same bear to be counted many times.

Mihai Zota, director of Conservation Carpathia Foundation

Romania is a country where the official estimations say there are 6,000 bears. This is a figure used by the Ministry to authorize the killings. What if, according to the research conducted by Conservation Carpathia Foundation, the actual number is less than 5,000?

The Romanian Minister of Environment is a strong advocate of the necessity to kill some of the bear population in Romania. The Ministry of Environment was one of the promoters of this idea, and the officials struggled to do so in their public speeches or press releases.

Even so, there is still strong opposition from wildlife lovers in Romania. Agent Green, an environmental organization, claimed that the Austrian Prince Emanuel von und zu Liechtenstein was responsible for shooting Arthur, the biggest bear ever seen in the European Union. Later on, it was proved that his nationality was not Austrian, as he was born in Liechtenstein. The Romanians attacked with negative reviews the castle his family owns in the Austrian region of Styria, castle Riegersburg. The attack was so massive that Google had to stop the reviews feature for the castle and erase all the negative comments related to the poaching.

The conclusion is simple: if the bear population is less than estimated, by 25% or any other percentage, the Ministry of Environment should take the necessary measures accordingly. It might even be required to reconsider its position in the matter by stopping the unnecessary killings.

Either way, thanks to the ONG, the bears will be adequately counted, and, who knows, some of them might even be saved from being killed as trophies.

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