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Romania is currently overpopulated with bears
One in four species of mammals and one in eight bird species are in danger of becoming extinct, showed an experts' report four years ago. According to them, plant and animal species are becoming extinct at least 1,000 times faster than they did before the appearance of humans on Earth. The cause: man's harmful activities. The situation is even more serious as the phenomenon is accelerating, and it is so intense that experts are already talking about 'a 6th mass extinction' after the one when dinosaurs disappeared, 65 million years ago. Many mammal species will become extinct within the next 50 years, according to a study carried out by scientists from Denmark and Sweden, which has been recently made public in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. These scientists have proven that the 6th mass extinction is under way at present, and it is not being caused by natural disasters, but by human activity. Extinction is taking place at too fast a pace for the evolution process to keep up with this phenomenon, researchers argue. What can be done?
According to the most optimistic scenario, people are going to stop destroying animals' habitats and contributing to the eradication of species. But, even if this optimistic scenario becomes reality, mammals would need 3 up to 5 million years only to become diversified enough for the evolution tree to regenerate the branches it is likely to lose in the coming 50 years, according to estimates. Romania is among the countries which, thanks to its geographical position and relief, benefits from a rich fauna, and in its attempt to preserve this diversity of species, it has laws that protect many animals such as bears, Carpathian roebucks, lynxes, chamois, roosters, foxes, martens, beavers, wild boars and aurochs. Overprotection may lead, however, to excessive reproduction, which generates hard-to-handle situations. This is the case of the bear population in Romania, which, according to official figures, is made up of 6,800 bears. Other statistics show that the real number of the bear population is around 8,000, which is more than the number for which Romania pledged to the European Commission to care in Romania's forests.
University professor Mircea Dutu, the president of the Ecological University from Bucharest, explains: "There must always be a balance in nature. When this balance gets broken, we are no longer in a natural state, but in a degraded state, which is no longer adequate for both partners, so to say, in this case, for man and biodiversity in general. As regards this general issue, I would say that, in Romania, bears and even wolves are considered natural and cultural symbols. For instance, the bear is at the origin of local conflicts and of media campaigns that promote the need to safeguard its natural habitat. Therefore, the issue has been raised at European and international levels in terms of how rare and how endangered a species is, including the bear. Also, the issue of the need for bear protection by man has been raised. But, in Romania, the ecological perception and the attitude to be adopted in this regard have been misunderstood, which led to overpopulation with a certain species, which caused a break in the ecological balance, and in turn entailed a different approach to economic aspects and to means of protecting people and eliminating dangers."
The bear is a species of interest for the community, so it has to benefit from proper conservation conditions, but Romania has reached this absurd situation, according to professor Dutu, in which it is overpopulated with bears. The species has developed beyond the natural capacity meant to ensure the balance necessary for obtaining a favorable conservation state and to allow for an optimal harvesting quota, in line with the European legislation and the Romanian legislation on hunting and protecting the hunting stock.
Here is professor Mircea Dutu with more: "We are in a period of crisis. The annual quotas meant to ensure the necessary balance inside the species have not been harvested since 2016. If the situation is not managed properly, we will lose control of the phenomenon. Consequently, a study is needed on the current state of the species, as well as an inventory of the species, an assessment of the causes that led to such a situation, and of the consequences. Also a plan on short, medium and long term has to be drafted to deal with the issue, so as to be able to solve it within a reasonable period of time. It's an absurd situation, Europe complains about the lack of bears, while Romania has too many bears that have become a threat to ecological balance, to the economy and also to the population."
Over the past years, in certain areas of Romania, bears have become a regular presence in people's courtyards, causing damage and even hurting people. And their number is on the rise.
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