Romania Bans Trophy Hunting!
This past Tuesday, Romania officially banned the trophy hunting of brown bears, wolves, lynx and wild cats. The decision comes in the same year that the hunting quotas for the animals were at their largest–with 550 bears, 600 wolves, and 500 wild cats being authorized to be shot by hunters in just 12 months.
According to The Guardian, since Romania’s inclusion into the European Union in 2007, “hunting has grown into a multimillion-euro industry in Romania, with hunters from all over the world paying up to €10,000 to claim a ‘trophy’ – hunting parlance for the carcass of a hunted animal – from the Carpathian mountains.”
While the ban was of course expected to stir up controversy, bear specialist Csaba Domokos has stated that the ban does not address the underlying issues for many living in rural areas, and that the success of the ban will depend heavily on whether or not the government chooses to “address the rural population’s fears.” He states:
“Damages caused by large carnivores are a very real concern in the countryside. The system up until now did not work; hunting does not reduce conflicts between carnivores and humans. But the rural population believe that hunting is the answer, and unless they can be convinced otherwise, people may well start to take the problem into their own hands. The ban is a great step, but we don’t want hunting to be replaced by poaching.”
The current plan of the Romanian government is to set up a paramilitary police unit that will respond directly to reports of damages caused by these animals, with the target animals potentially being relocated abroad. While only time will tell if the ban is effective, activist and conservationist Gabriel Paun sees the decision in an optimistic light, stating:
“The Carpathian mountains are home to more biodiversity than anywhere else in Europe, but for too long they have been ruthlessly exploited for forestry and hunting. Let’s hope the government’s decision is a sign of things to come.”
Photo Credit: www.whitewolfpack.com