The Environment Ministry of Romania announced this week that it will cull or relocate 140 bears and 97 wolves. The move comes after a huge out cry about hunting quotes from last year. The measures aim to “prevent important damages and protect public health and safety.” They decided to let the authorities carry out the killing because it “prevents trophy hunting.”
According to The Journel.ie, a government-appointed commission of scientists backed the move, saying that it did not “endanger the conservation of these two species”. This of course does not matter to animal rights groups that have already come out against the measure.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) strongly denounced the measure and blamed the issue on deforestation.
“The authorities should first address the problems that have prompted bears to get closer and closer to human settlements in the search for food,” Cristian Papp, who is the head of WWF’s Romanian branch.
Of course habitat is important and they should address deforestation, but even if they started forest restoration projects today I would take years to get to the point that a cull would no longer be needed.
There has been a huge increase in human wildlife conflicts the last few months that the government is trying to address. In July, two shepherds were seriously injured in a bear attack in the Carpathian region. A month earlier, authorities were forced to temporarily close the famous Poenari Castle – the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s gothic novel Dracula – after tourists came face to face with a mother bear and her three cubs.
I will never understand groups that ignore simple science in favor of emotion. Wildlife populations need managed. In today’s world a hands off approach to wildlife management will not work, so we are left with two choices. Let hunters manage the wildlife and raise money for conservation or spend government money to accomplish the task.