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January 2, 2020 at 8:04 am

Popescu Says Romania Doesn’t Know Actual Bear Population

Dr. Viorel Popescu, portrait outdoors

Dr. Viorel Popescu

The Phnom Penh Post quotes Dr. Viorel Popescu in an AFP wire story headlined “In bear country Romania, cohabitation grows strenuous.”

Popescu is Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Ohio University.

Romania is thought to have more than 6,000 brown bears spread across about 30 per cent of the country and especially in the Carpathian mountains.

But environmentalists say the government doesn’t even come close to knowing the actual number.

“The methodology used by the authorities has not changed over the last few decades,” said Viorel Popescu, assistant professor at Ohio University in the United States who wrote a study on the overestimation of Romania’s bear population.

“It consists of counting tracks on snow or mud.”

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Until 2016, hunting as a sport flourished, and bears were given “tons of apples, corn, concentrate [a mix of nutrients] and dead cows brought into the forest to habituate them for trophy hunting mostly,” Popescu said, a claim disputed by hunters.

“Their space and ecology changed; the whole system changed (in 2016) when we stopped feeding them,” he added.

Read more at the Phnom Penh Post.

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