The Slovenia Times

Court allows culling of 222 bears

Environment & Nature

Ljubljana - An environmental organisation has lost a legal battle against the Environment Ministry's decision to allow the culling of 222 brown bears in Slovenia this year, by the end of September. The Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning said the ruling showed its decision for the culling was legally right and professional.

In a decision taken on 16 June, the Administrative Court ruled that the lawsuit by Alpe Adria Green was unwarranted. The judgement is non-appealable.

The decision to allow the culling of 222 brown bears by 30 September was issued by the ministry in February but was stayed by the court in March pending its decision on Alpe Adria Green's appeal.

The ministry said on Friday that 139 brown bears had been "removed from the natural environment" by 10 August. The injunction on the culling became void on 20 June, when the court's decision became final.

Alpe Adria Green argued that every such culling permit is illegal and that under Slovenian and international legislation it is permitted to cull only those bears that have been proven to have attacked humans or to be jeopardising people or property.

The court based its decision on the hearing of two Ljubljana Faculty of Biotechnology professors who were involved in the expert opinion that was part of the basis for the culling permit.

With the culling of the 222 bears, the country's brown bear population will be reduced from an estimated 1,000 to around 800 animals.

The court found the planned culling would not "harm the maintenance of a favourable conservation status of the bear population in Slovenia".

It rejected the argument that the interest of the protection of human health could be achieved by individual culls and said the planned culling was warranted due to an increased number of human-bear conflicts as a result of the density of the bear population.

Alpe Adria Green and the animal rights society AniMa disagree with such a position, noting that the court failed to consider data on hunting tourism and on public promotion of bear meat food.

The NGOs also raised issue with supplementary feeding of bears, which they believe to be the reason for bears being attracted to human settlements and for the bear population growing fast.


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