Romania has outlawed all trophy hunting of brown bears, wolves, lynx, and wild cats, a surprising move that relieves Europe’s greatest population of large carnivores from its most serious and immediate threat.
“Hunting for money was previously unlawful, but it was given the go light nevertheless,” said Cristiana Pasca-Palmer, the environment minister, to the Guardian. ‘The habitats directive’s damages clause served as a cover for trophy hunting.’
The ban, which was announced late Tuesday evening, is anticipated to split Romania’s population, pitting rural and urban residents against one other. The government’s decision has widespread backing in major cities, where there has been a rising anti-hunting campaign in recent months. However, in most of Romania’s isolated countryside, huge predators pose a daily threat to villages and are a constant annoyance to livestock producers, and many consider hunting as the only option.
The environment ministry has examined the prospect of moving the target species to nations interested in’rewilding.’
The restriction comes amid a rising drive to safeguard Romania’s wild mountains, which has resulted in the conviction of hundreds of foresters, hunters, and municipal politicians in recent years.
Gabriel Paun, an activist and conservationist behind a petition that collected 11,000 signatures in the weeks before the hunting ban, sees the government’s decision as a step towards a safer future for Europe’s wild spaces: “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.”
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