WWF Romania's Marius Berchi: Environment Ministry should invest in measures to prevent human-large carnivore conflicts

Measures to prevent human conflicts with large carnivores have proven their efficiency and usefulness, therefore the Environment Ministry should invest in such measures, Marius Berchi, manager of the EU-funded LIFE EuroLargeCarnivores project implemented by WWF Romania said on Friday after a visit to sheepfolds in the Padis highland area. "A few days ago, when the emergency ordinance was issued that greenlights interventions in the event of bear attacks, the Environment Ministry said that the prevention measures promoted by environmental organizations have not proved to be effective. But as far as we know, the Ministry did not invest a dime in preventive measures. More than that, for 15 years between 2005 - 2020 the only investments in preventive measures - I am referring only to electric fences and livestock guardian dogs - were by NGOs through various projects, in total amount of 250,000 euros," Marius Berchi declared for AGERPRES. WWF Romania organized on Friday a press visit to two highland sheepfolds in the Padis area of the Apuseni Natural Park, as part of the LIFE project that includes 16 partners from 15 European countries; the project encompasses various activities, including sharing best practices for preventing human conflicts with large carnivores and experience exchanges among farmers. Under a partnership with the Fauna & Flora International (FFI) wildlife conservation organisation, five sheepfolds in the area were equipped last year with electric fences and a pair of Romanian Carpathian Shepherd dogs each. FFI donated last year 151 electric fences for farms in the Apuseni Mountains area. "The conclusion would be that the measures are effective and statistical data also proves this, as our FFI colleagues surveyed via questionnaire all the 151 beneficiaries of electric fences. Over 90 percent of them declared themselves satisfied and pointed out that they had less or no damage at all. And through today's visit to the sheepfolds we wanted to show that prevention measures exist which the Ministry should promote and that European money can be accessed for that,'' said the project manager. Marius Berchi added that all the shepherds he spoke with were satisfied with both the fences and the guardian dogs. Regarding the financing of preventive measures, Berchi cited the example of Norway, which has a far smaller bear population but where 14 million euros have been allocated this year to prevent incidents with wildlife, infinitely more than the amount invested in Romania, and which the state had nothing to do with.AGERPRES(RO - author: Eugenia Pasca, editor: Antonia Nita; EN - author: Simona Klodnischi, editor: Maria Voican)

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