Brussels “ investigates ” alleged bear hunt by Prince of Liechtenstein – POLITICO
The chief environment officer of the European Commission said he was “examining” NGO reports that a prince from Liechtenstein killed a large bear in Romania in an act of trophy hunting.
Environmental groups said last week that Prince Emanuel von und zu Liechtenstein visited Romania in March and shot a 17-year-old brown bear nicknamed Arthur in a nature reserve, on the pretext of having a special permit to hunt a different bear.
Trophy hunting is illegal in Romania and brown bears are protected by the EU Habitats Directive, which prohibits hunting of wild animals except in exceptional circumstances.
“My services are now examining the details of this case and are following it very closely,” Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius told MEPs in the European Parliament’s environment committee on Monday.
“I am convinced that the Romanian authorities are investigating this incident in a very detailed way,” he said, responding to a question from Romanian MEP Nicolae Ștefănuță of the Renew Europe group.
Agent Green, the Romanian NGO that first published the accusations, said in a statement on Monday that the Romanian Environment Ministry was responsible for not having sufficiently protected and managed its Natura 2000 sites, including including where the alleged incident took place.
The Romanian government has opened an investigation into the murder of the bear.
The prince, a part-time doctor who lives in a castle in Austria, issued a statement Friday denying shooting Arthur, but instead slaughtering another “problem animal” that had been allowed to be killed by Romanian authorities and was 250 years old. meters from inhabited houses. The prince also said he offered his full support for the investigation, Austrian media reported.
“Hunting as a way to maintain and care for a species rich game population and to safeguard their livelihoods is a great tradition of our family,” he wrote, adding that there had been “wrongdoing”. reports and turmoil ”since the news broke.
Agent Green’s Gabriel Paun told POLITICO that according to official documents he saw detailing the type of bear killed, “only Arthur” could have been the animal found. Paun also said that even shooting the female bear with cubs would have been illegal anyway.
The Commission officially warned Romania last summer that it had to comply with EU legal requirements to create conservation plans for its protected natural sites.
CORRECTION: This article has been corrected to include the prince’s response.