Romania manages the largest brown bear population in EU

Biodiversity conservation is currently one of the most important issues at international level. Europe's natural environment is particularly rich, including a large number of ecosystems and habitats. In Romania, nature conservation and protection is achieved in particular through the declaration and establishment of a national network of protected areas of various categories. Up to 47% of the country's surface is covered by natural or semi-natural ecosystems, with one of the largest areas of virgin forest in Europe. The integrity of the natural ecosystems in Romania's forests is demonstrated by the presence of a very wide range of Europe's fauna, including more than 40% of brown bear populations.

Brown Bear

Romania has ensured sustainable management and has actively contributed to the European efforts to preserve large carnivores, including the brown bear. As proof, IUCN [The International Union for Conservation of Nature] experts estimate that the brown bear is in a favorable state of conservation, with stable or even growing populations and a low risk of vulnerability. Romania has proven that is capable of managing the largest bear population in Europe, and more than that, of ensuring the conditions for it to prosper.

Since 1992, various measures have been applied to protect this species, and brown bear populations in Romanian forests have increased year after year.  Approximately 6,400 - 7,200 bears live in the  Carpathian Mountains, over 40% of Europe's bears, but this wealth of biodiversity is beginning to threaten the most precious wealth of a country - the population. In the last 20 years, in Romania, more than 240 bear attacks on people have been reported over the period ranging from 2004 – 2021, 26 people were killed by bears and 274 people were disfigured. In last period of time, many farmers in areas with large brown bear populations have also claimed significant losses through damage caused by the killing of farm animals.   

Due to the interventions made by some Member States regarding the vulnerability of the population to increasing brown bear attacks, the European Parliament, in its resolution on the protection of livestock farming and large carnivores in Europe, emphasized the importance of creating a balanced coexistence between humans, livestock and large carnivores, especially in rural areas.

In this context, the Romanian Minister for the Environment, Water and Forests  requested that the European Commission reevaluate the state of conservation of the brown bear population in Europe and analyze whether it is necessary to update their protection status.

He ask the Commission to apply the provisions of the Habitats Directive to reassess the conservation status of the 10 brown bear populations in Europe, and based on the data obtained to analyze whether it is necessary to update their protection status as happened for the wolf species. He underlined that it is essential to collaborate to restore the balance. He assure that Romania will make available all the resources, information and experience accumulated in managing the largest and healthiest brown bear population in Europe, for protect human life while ensuring the well-being of the brown bear.