On the evening of 5th June, 2020, one of our wildlife rapid intervention teams, together with a crew of the Bughea Local Police, caught a person suspected for poaching within the Hunting Reserve ’18 Râul Târgului’, in the area of Albeștii de Muscel – Valea Bughița – Albești,. Criminal investigations have been initiated for the regime of weapons and ammunition offenses, use of a weapon without right to do so and entry into the hunting ground without a hunting permit.
At around 21:50, during a routine patrol on the hunting ground ’18 Râul Târgului’, the team responsible for guarding the hunting reserve heard a gunshot in the Bughița-Albești area. They alerted the crew of the local police from Bughea and together they found an off-road vehicle. Two people were identified, one of them a hunter. They went to the Police Station in Câmpulung Muscel, where the Weapons and Dangerous Substances Service arrived from Pitești. On the spot investigations did not lead to the discovery of a shot animal. Statements were taken until 03:00 am and a criminal investigation file was opened just for the hunter, who admitted that he had fired a gun, claiming that it was to “scare the gypsies in the area.” The law is clear in this case: the regime of weapons and ammunition was violated, the weapon was not in the holster, the weapon was used without right and the hunting reserve was entered without authorization.
“Our rangers are constantly patrolling the hunting reserve under our management, to prevent possible damage caused by wild boar or bears, and to discourage potential acts of poaching,” says Mihai Zotta, president of the GTS Păpușa Leaota Hunting Association. “It is unfortunate that such acts can dishonour a person and bring consequences for the rest of their life, through the existence of a tainted criminal record and other punishments. We discourage people from repeating or continuing these practices.”
Management and responsibilities
The fauna are owned by the Romanian State, and the legislation is strict: each hunting reserve has a designated manager, who is obliged to ensure the protection of the wildlife. Together with GTS Păpușa Leaota, Piatra Craiului Făgăraș Conservation Association and Carpathia Forest District collaborate in order to comply with the legislation on hunting, wildlife protection, as well as in preventing damage to households throughout four hunting reserves. In total, over an area of 65,000 hectares, the main objective is to prevent and reduce conflicts caused by the interaction of wild animals with farmers and livestock owners.
The development of actions for the management of human-wildlife conflicts is carried out within the project ‘Creation of a Wilderness Reserve in the Făgăraș Mountains, Romania’, funded by the European Commission under the LIFE program and implemented by the Foundation Conservation Carpathia in partnership with the other Carpathia entities and other organisations. From the establishment of the wildlife rapid response intervention team to the present, we have responded to around 120 incidents to address the problems caused by wildlife.