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WWF Romania asks PM to push for an action plan for punishing and curbing poaching

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dacian ciolos

WWF Romania asked Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos in an open letter published on the organization's website to push for unlocking files and a government action plan aiming at punishing and curbing poaching, as this phenomenon is not currently a priority for state institutions. "After 10 years of field work and two poaching cases extensively documented by WWF Romania, we reached the conclusion that poaching is not a priority for the state institutions with responsibilities in the field. There is often no real will on the side of the authorities to identify and prosecute the perpetrators, despite enough evidence. Moreover, in some cases the authorities themselves are allegedly accomplices in covering up poaching, which encourages the phenomenon and leads to its increase. WWF asks the PM, as the head of the Romanian government, to get involved in unlocking files and elaborating a government action plan to punish and curb poaching," a press release read.

In the open letter addressed to the head of the Romanian government WWF activists stress that illegal hunting can only be fought against when there is a comprehensive governmental approach, when there is cooperation and an active involvement of several ministries. Activists also pointed out that their experience in the field proved that poaching is not a priority for various state institutions and that authorities do not work on identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators.

For instance, in a case dating from 2012, the first bear monitored by WWF in a cross-border project was shot dead on a hunting grounds in Maramures. "It was the best researched case of bear poaching, as far as WWF knows. But although the organization promptly informed the hunting management authorities of the bear's killing, they were late to report it to the police," the open letter explains. WWF activists also say they offered all the information, technical and scientific data to support the investigation, but old gaps in legislation, lack of responsibility from authorities and deficiencies in law enforcement prevented any tangible results.

Moreover, the activists claim that in many cases hunting takes place after dark in areas protected by law (including by two Nature 2000 Directives). "The consequences of uncontrolled hunting has strong impact on local communities and on economy in general (...) Poaching can only be curbed and eliminated through a strategic approach from the government, dialogue between ministries and turning the files into a priority by involving all the authorities," the activists pointed out.

Agerpres

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