Large predators such as the wolf and bear are taking Europe by storm, and more and more ranchers are falling victim to them. At least seventeen member states want more room to shoot protected animals in principle, if necessary.
The agricultural ministers of the countries concerned insisted this morning in a meeting with the European Commissioner for the Environment, Virginia Sinkevicius. Slovenia, not even a very large country, is “definitely” home to a thousand brown bears, making it the largest “bear den” in the world, and 120 wolves. France reported a 20 to 30 percent increase in the number of wolves, and Austria an increase in livestock loss of 230 percent. “Some farmers are refusing to go into the mountains or worse, stop their businesses,” Austrian Agriculture Minister Norbert Tuechnig said. “It affects the income of entire regions.”
Finland, where the number of predators has tripled despite hunting, Latvia complains of wolf as well as lynx and jackal, Greece also has wild boar and Denmark on seals,’ which is putting increasing pressure on our fragile fish stocks in the Baltic Sea. ‘.
In Romania, which is inhabited by half as many bears in Europe, bears have killed people. “So it’s really starting to get out of hand,” said Czech Council President Zdenek Nikola. The Netherlands, still searching for a new agriculture minister, did not intervene.
Some farmers refuse to go to the mountains or worse: stop their businesses
The affected member states don’t want the wolf and the bear to go away, but they do want their numbers to be reduced so there is something they call “coexistence” in the jargon. Concretely, they want “cross-border monitoring,” compensation for farmers affected by pots other than the Farm Fund and more space to shoot animals in difficult situations. UNHCR has not been keen to undermine the success of its protection programs for at least a year.
According to Sinkevicius, the bear and the wolf are already the “most closely watched species” and member states must cooperate more closely if they are to expand surveillance even further. According to him, in exchange for a strict obligation to report every two years, they can now more easily shoot problem animals.
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