A planned trophy hunt of Romanian brown bears, which could see as many as 6,640 animals shot and killed, should be immediately cancelled, according to a coalition of wildlife NGOs and scientists. They issued an open letter to protest.

The coalition, which includes the Humane Society International/Europe, WWF-Romania, and the Environmental Investigation Agency, is calling on the international community of wildlife experts, as well as Romanian and EU decision-makers, to take urgent action to end this threat to the brown bear populations in Romania.

In its letter, the coalition seeks support from the European and international community in requesting Romania’s Environment Minister Gratiela Gavrilescu not to endorse the Action Plan for Conservation of the Brown Bear in Romania.

According to activists, the Action Plan disregards alternative humane solutions to hunting, as well as preventive measures to mitigate human-bear conflict and ensure that brown bear management in Romania focuses on the goal of human-bear coexistence, says the coalition.

“The Romanian government’s decision to resume the trophy hunting of 10% of its brown bears is shocking and alarming,” said Ruud Tombrock, Executive Director for Humane Society International/Europe.

“Two years ago, the conservation community praised the previous Government for taking decisive action to stop the unjustified persecution of Europe’s large carnivores,” he added. “This change of policy is clearly in response to strong lobbying efforts from the trophy hunting and animal agriculture industries, and it threatens the very survival of bears in Romania.”