COD GALBEN: 04-04-2020 ora 14

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The Eurasian skylark (Alauda arvensis) and the chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) will be placed under protection, and the decision, together with an opinion of the Ministry of the Environment, will be submitted to the government, acting Environmental Minister Costel Alexe said on Thursday at a news conference.

"We have made the decision to place under protection two emblematic species for Romania, the hunting of which has unfortunately been allowed without any restriction. It is about the lark and the chamois. The lark is a national symbol species and its hunting is not a traditional activity, it is not an indigenous hunting practice. Moreover, it is on the UNICEF list of endangered species. The chamois, although an emblematic species for the Carpathians and Romania, was considered a monument of nature until 2007, but once Romania entered the European Union, its protection was dropped. We will submit to the Government of Romania the point of view of the ministry regarding the protection of these two species, which we consider to be emblematic and, obviously, very important for our country," said Alexe.

According to the Romanian Ornithological Society (SOR), the Eurasian skylark is a species in high demand with foreign hunters, especially Italians, and was introduced to the list of game birds in 1996. In 2006, following a SOR campaign, the species becomes protected, but only for one year. In 2015, following another campaign conducted by SOR and the organisations of the Natura 2000 Coalition, the hunting quotas were halved.

"Year after year, the Romanian Police catch groups of Italian poachers who hunt protected species and claim that they hunt skylarks. On the Romania - Hungary route, the shipments of poached birds that leave Romania are already famous, and in recent years such shipments have been intercepted in Slovenia and Croatia as well," according to SOR.

On the other hand, as far as the chamois is concerned, leaders of the Declic community initiated a petition last year to stop the hunting of this species, mentioning the fact that the former minister of water and forestry approved a harvesting quota of 609 chamois specimens to be hunted in the 2019-2020 season.

Centralised data from hunting fund managers quoted by Declic indicate that the chamois population of Romania increased from 6,722 in 2005 to 8,158 in 2019, while their optimal number was put at 6,174, a controversial number.

The chamois is found in Romania in 98 hunting funds of 16 counties. AGERPRES (RO - author: Daniel Badea, editor: Oana Tilica; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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