There is a Government Decision in the works that bans feeding bears within locality boundaries or near localities and imposing higher sanctions who those who fail to comply, Minister of Environment, Waters and Forests Barna Tanczos told a news conference on Thursday.
“Also, as early as February we launched the tender for the estimation of the bear population by classical methods. For us to be able to present to the European Commission the envisaged preventive measures we need to know this trend of the bear population, to see whether it has decreased or gone up. We can draw certain conclusions from the calls to the 112 emergency hotline, from the damage cases initiated following bear attacks on humans, but these are just indirect conclusions. (…) Bear experts say that feeding the animals in the forest would mean transforming the forest into a bear farm and automatically boosting the population. The five years lost will definitely not be recovered in six months, for us the most important thing now is the survey to see where we stand. Step by step things can be solved, but knowing where we are is the most important thing now. We have signed the financing contract and we are starting the assessment on scientific bases,” Tanczos said, according to Agerpres.
He mentioned that the Emergency Ordinance (GEO) approving bear response methods, which was recently approved by the government, has undergone some changes compared to the version proposed by the Ministry of Environment so as to better ensure the safety of communities in areas where bears have become an extremely serious issue.
“The Emergency Ordinance has these days been in the inter-ministerial approval procedure. The act is necessary in localities, allowing a gradual intervention to remove the danger posed by the presence of bears in human settlements. Let me emphasize once again the two aspects, which refer strictly to localities and require response teams to take action gradually. The first step is to chase the animal away, relocation is the next step, and only where the risk is high and there’s an imminent danger to the citizens, can the bear be euthanized or shot down. I thank all my colleagues from the other ministries for their support. This is an extremely serious problem in several localities and I think that these communities should enjoy the same security and safety as everyone else in the localities where this danger does not exist,” the EnviMin said.
The government approved on July 21, at the proposal of the Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests, an Emergency Ordinance regarding the approval of brown bear (Ursus arctos) response methods.
The act regulates the immediate response method for preventing and combating brown bear attacks on people and their possessions within locality boundaries, by chasing away/capturing/relocating the animal or harvesting it by shooting or euthanizing it.
The main purpose of the Ordinance is to protect the life and bodily integrity of people, public health and safety, assets of any kind under public and private property of legal persons or individuals.
The document specifies that anyone can report cases where an intervention is necessary, by calling the 112 single emergency number.
The response to bear incidents within human settlements shall be gradual, decided by the on-site analysis of the risk by the response team, according to the Procedure on the action of institutions in charge of the response to brown bear incidents.
The response team consists of the mayor/deputy mayor of the administrative-territorial unit where the incident occurred; the personnel of the gendarme structures responsible for the area where the presence of the bear was reported; the specialized technical staff employed by the manager who are under a permanent contract with the administrative-territorial unit for the provision of specialized services provided for by the Emergency Ordinance, in the occurrence area; the veterinarian.
The harvesting of the bear by euthanasia or shooting is done in the following situations: if chasing the animal away, tranquilizing and relocating it fail and the risk – as per the risk assessment procedure – changes to high; if the safety and security of people or property thereof are endangered; if the safety and security of the members of the response team are put at jeopardy; if the bear in question is injured during the intervention and no other solutions are identified as per this Emergency Ordinance; if the specimen in question is caught in an illegal trap and no other solutions are identified; if the specimen in question has injuries incompatible with life.
The costs of the intervention are borne by the administrative-territorial unit where the action was performed based on the contract for permanent services concluded with the manager, respectively the service contract concluded with the veterinarian and is settled by the Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests, within the standard fees established by order of the Minister of Environment, Waters and Forests and based on the supporting documents submitted by the administrative-territorial units to the Forest Guards.