The news that a bear wandering the streets of Sibiu was shot dead by hunters after the attempts to tranquilize it failed has caused many negative reactions in social media. Especially as the big brown bear that the Sibiu authorities said they neutralized seemed more like a young scared bear, according to the photos and videos shot during the pursuit.
The photos of the young bear shot dead between flower pots as he was running from the people pursuing it raised a wave of critics to the local authorities and their incapacity to handle such a situation without hurting the animal, which seemed to pose no threat to people.
Even Liviu Dragnea, the leader of Romania’s largest party – the Social Democratic Party (PSD), reacted to this news, saying that the bear’s story ended “sadly,” and that one of the causes for this event was the “irrational cutting of forests.”
Meanwhile, the Sibiu Police has opened a criminal investigation for the use of a deadly weapon. "It’s about using a firearm in the city, and this is the normal procedure. We open a criminal investigation into the use of firearms. In this situation, however, it was a case of necessity, and the weapon usage conditions were clear,"said Luciana Lazar, spokesperson for Sibiu County Police, cited by local News.ro.
However, Romania's Environment Ministry also asked for an investigation, as the local authorities didn't consult it before shooting the bear.
Several NGOs also reacted to this event. The Romania Without Them association is planning a protest in Sibiu on Friday, October 14. Some 362 people announced on the event’s Facebook page that they would attend the protest, while almost 800 others are interested.
"In the name of the killed brown bear, we ask the authorities to resign or be denounced. They choose. We urge the prosecutors to take action for the crime committed against an innocent animal," reads the event’s presentation.
Moreover, in the memory of the bear cub shot dead on Wednesday, the façade of the Theatre for Children and Youth in Sibiu will be lit in red until Sunday, reports Digi24.
Another NGO that reacted to the bear cub’s sad story is World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF – Romania), which pointed out on its Facebook page the necessity of setting up a Wild Animal Emergency Service in Romania.
"It is clear that in such situations we need regulation on how to intervene and people trained to intervene calmly and efficiently. The operational service in all areas with potential for human-animal conflict should have the necessary skills and equipment to make sure that the right decision is made every time, that the intervention is done rationally, seeking solutions that don’t involve shooting animals," the message reads.
Meanwhile, Chief Commissioner Tiberiu Iulian Ivancea from Sibiu Police said that "there is no clear procedure for such events," reports local Mediafax. However, if such an event does occur, the authorities are taking all the necessary steps to ensure the population’s safety.
The bear killed near the center of Sibiu is the second wild animal shot in the city in recent years. In February 2012, a tiger escaped from the Zoo and was killed in the forest. However, in early April 2015, a 60-kg bear was captured alive in Sibiu.
Romania's Environment Ministry recently cancelled an order that allowed the shooting of hundreds of bears, wolves, and wildcats. The ministry also announced that a special emergency service would be created to deal with cases in which wild animals pose threat to humans.
Irina Popescu, [email protected]
(Photo source: TurnulSfatului.ro)