Romania said on Wednesday it was investigating the murder of a large brown bear which activists say was illegally shot by a prince of Liechtenstein during a hunt in the Carpathians.
Animal rights groups accuse Prince Emanuel von und zu Liechtenstein of killing a 17-year-old male brown bear, the “biggest” seen in Romania, during a hunting trip in March from his castle in Austria.
Romania’s National Environmental Guard launched an investigation into the death of a bear of a protected species in central Romania on April 29 after noting that documents were missing, the head of the department told AFP. NEG, Octavian Berceanu.
“We knew that a female bear needed to be extracted, but then we found a (dead) male bear,” Berceanu said.
Environment Minister Tanczos Barna, who oversees the NEG, said a hunting permit had been issued to shoot a female bear in Covasna because it was harming residents, but did not specify to whom the permit was issued.
– Bear named Arthur –
The Romanian group Agent Green and the Austrian branch of the Association Against Animal Factories (VGT) identified the dead animal as a bear named “Arthur”, which an Agent Green forester had observed for years in a natural reserve.
“Arthur was 17 and the biggest brown bear seen in Romania and possibly the European Union,” Agent Green chairman Gabriel Paun said in a statement.
The card confirming the bear’s measurements, published by Agent Green and VGT, named “Emanuel von und zu Liechtenstein” – a royal from Liechtenstein who lives in Austria – as a hunter.
“The NGO agent Green and VGT condemn the murder of the brown bear Arthur by the trophy hunter Prince Emanuel von und zu Liechtenstein who came to Romania in March to shoot him”, they declared.
An AFP request for comment to Prince Emanuel’s castle office in Austria was not immediately responded to.
The office of the hereditary prince of Liechtenstein said in a statement to AFP that it did not know the background of this “private and personal matter”.
“However, the Princely House would like to stress that respect for nature has been one of the Chamber’s fundamental concerns and is a central element of the family’s commitment to ecological and social sustainability”, a- he declared.
Romania is believed to have more than 6,000 brown bears, the largest population in Europe, spread over around 30% of the country, with the highest concentration of them in the Carpathians.
A member of the EU since 2007, Romania completely banned bear hunting in 2016, with the brown bear being a protected species under the bloc’s habitat directive.
© 2021 AFP