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An in rem criminal case has been opened in the shooting of a bear in the Ojdula area, the facts investigated being for poaching and the use of a weapon, the representatives of the Covasna County Police Inspectorate (IPJ) informed.

The Chief Prosecutor of the Prosecutor's Office with the Targu Secuiesc Court, Valentin Teodorescu, confirmed for AGERPRES that IPJ Covasna was notified ex officio on Wednesday, "based on media materials" and that he is waiting for the documents from the Police, in order to register the criminal case in the records of the Prosecutor's Office.

According to him, the facts for which investigation is being carried out are, "in principle, poaching and the use of weapons".

Agent Green Organization and VGT condemned in a press release on Wednesday the killing of the brown bear Arthur by the trophy hunter, Prince Emanuel von und zu Liechtenstein, who came to Romania in March in Ojdula (Covasna County), to shoot it.

"Arthur was 17 years old and was the largest bear seen in Romania and probably the largest living in the European Union. The measurements of the corpse indicate that Arthur had 593 points out of 600, which is the maximum possible in the trophy hunting industry. I've never heard of such a record score before. I wonder how the prince could mistake a female bear with cubs coming to the village with the largest male bear that lived in the depths of the forest. It is clear that the prince didn't come to solve the locals' problem but to kill the bear and take home the biggest trophy to hang it on the wall. We are dealing with a game of poaching, since they shot the wrong bear," said Gabriel Paun, president of Agent Green.

Environmental activists claim that, in reality, the prince did not kill the problem bear, but a male bear who lived in the depths of the forest and who had never come near the localities. "Arthur the bear has been observed for several years by Agent Green's ranger in the area and was recognized as wild and unused with human presence and food sources. Its habitat was the Natura 2000 Oituz-Ojdula ROSCI0130 protected area," states the quoted source.

According to Agent Green, the brown bear is a species strictly protected by European Union (EU) law and the Berne Convention, and derogations are exceptions that occur in extreme cases on a case-by-case basis, after a thorough assessment of the situation, the lethal method being the last solution when the alternatives (including relocation) have failed and the problem bear endangers human lives and households.

The European Commission (EC) has approved a budget for member states to compensate immediately and fairly any farmer who suffers damage on their own land or in areas where they have a contract to practice agriculture, the organization notes.

The Minister of Environment, Tanczos Barna, declared on Wednesday that two parallel investigations, one of the National Environmental Guard and another of the Forest Guard, were started in the case of the bear that was extracted from Covasna County, at a hunting association, and underscored he would not comment on the case so as not to influence investigations. AGERPRES (RO - author: Gina Stefan, editor: Irina Poenaru; EN - author: Bogdan Gabaroi, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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