President Klaus Iohannis sent a message on Wednesday on the occasion of World Wildlife Day, stating that torturing, trafficking in or killing wild animals are reprehensible acts, which must be punished according to law and calls on the Government to come with a more ambitious tree-planting plan, especially outside woods, on sandy or degraded land."Romania has a special place in Europe in terms of biodiversity, forests and wildlife. Approximately 35% of Romania's area is covered by forests, a natural heritage with inestimable ecological value. There are forests that host thousands of species of wild animals and plants, many of which are extinct in Western Europe. The forests and the flora and fauna species that these host are often under threat. In the last decades our actions have led to the destruction of wildlife habitats, forcing them to seek food in the vicinity of human settlements. Torturing, trafficking in or killing wild animals are reprehensible acts that must be punished according to the law in force without any hesitation. Committing abuses against wild animals, torturing and trafficking in them further expose us humans to various viruses. Such practices increase the risk of a pandemic, such as COVID-19, which has disrupted our health and life in the past year," the head of state says in the message.
He emphasizes that forests protect biodiversity and are crucial to combating climate change.
"Respect for wildlife and the environment is essential to our health. It is essential to continually promote forest and wildlife management models and practices that support both our wellbeing as people and the long-term preservation of ecosystems. Our involvement must go beyond protecting, because it is necessary to help nature regenerate. Planting trees contributes to this regeneration process," Iohannis said.
The head of state states that the afforestation efforts that have taken place recently in Romania represent a reason for optimism.
"In 2020, we granted patronage to the national afforestation campaign organized by the Government. Together we planted over 50 million seedlings, an investment with real benefits for the environment, natural ecosystems, but also for the health of Romanians and future generations. In 2021, I demand that the Government should be even more ambitious, with a planting plan, especially outside woods, on sandy or degraded land. I also welcome the initiative of the Executive to allocate one billion euros for forests under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Protecting the environment is a priority in which we will constantly invest in the future," said President Iohannis.
He points out that civil society representatives have a very important role to play in combating illegal deforestation, in afforestation and wildlife initiatives, in which context he encourages environmental associations to continue their efforts and public efforts to protect the natural heritage.
"It is essential that civil society, the media and citizens remain vigilant and actively involved in protecting forests and wildlife. I am an unreserved supporter and will be actively involved in promoting efforts to regenerate forests and wildlife. I want, in these steps, to have as many Romanians by my side as possible," concludes Iohannis.