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Romanian carnivores at a crossroads

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Science  14 Jun 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6445, pp. 1041
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax6742

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  • RE: What brought Romanian carnivores at a crossroads?
    • Petru Tudor STĂNCIOIU, Associate professor of ecology, Transilvania University of Brasov, Faculty of Silviculture and Forest Engineering, Brașov, Romania
    • Other Contributors:
      • Gabriel DĂNILĂ, Lecturer in wildlife management, „Ștefan cel Mare” University of Suceava, Faculty of Silviculture, Suceava, Romania
      • Ion MICU, Wildlife expert, ProUrsus Foundation, Voşlăbeni, Harghita county, Romania
      • Nicolae Horia STANCIOIU, Wildlife manager, „Căpriorul-Mărtinești” Game Management Association, Călan, Hunedoara county, Romania

    We agree with the authors that carnivores in Romania might be at (or heading to) a crossroads. However, we consider that causes which brought (or might bring) them there are quite different and actually, the recent changes mentioned in the article would rather endanger the coexistence with carnivores in Romania and therefore are unlikely to secure their perpetuation for the future.

    Carnivores never vanished from Romania and their conservation is not a new story. Different strategies for conservation were in place for decades, starting with a Decree from 1953 in the case of brown bears and continuing with the laws for regulating hunting which have followed [law 26/1976; law 103/1996; law 407/2006]. These legal provisions have produced and secured the largest carnivore populations in Europe. Despite this, at the time of accession in the European Union in 2007, based on a political decision with no scientific grounds, their management changed from active population density control to a passive derogation system (i.e. mostly culling problem or aggressive bears). Population density control became rather an exception and has not been used anymore up to present. To implement the new system a procedure for derogations was set up since 2007 [Ministry order 1369/2007] and updated in 2009[Ministry order 14/2009]. Based on this, each year (up to 2016) a maximum threshold for derogations was set [Ministry orders 1386/2007; 1092/2008; 1223/2009; 1423/2010; 2278/2011; 3456/2012...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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