Questions aux autorités roumaines

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La présence de l'ours en Roumanie ne peut pas être sans conséquence pour les activités pastorales. Mais ces activités sont-elle les mêmes que celles des Pyrénées? Comment s'exercent-elles? Sont elles comparables??

1 / comment est organisé le pastoralisme chez vous? Est-ce que vous avez des brebis (moutons) ou des vaches ou les 2?

We have both, cattle and sheep, and in many cases they are managed by the same team of shepherds.

2/ est ce que les troupeaux d'élevage sont toujours gardés? Qui les gardes? des adultes? des enfants?

The animals are guarded all the time, by adults. I'm talking here about the cattle and sheep which are going up in the mountains for the summer season, and they stay up there all the time, from mid May until September. These animals are milked in the mountain twice a day and the main products are various brands of cheese. They belong to the local communities. Each family owns 1-2 caws, 10-15 sheep, and they put them together in spring, a chief shepherd is hired by the community and takes care of everything. His payment is in products, that he sells on the market. Another part of the cheese goes to the animal owner, for its own needs or for selling.

3/ Est ce que les lieux où se trouvent les troupeaux sont loin des villages? Est-il possible d'y aller en voiture? Quelle distance? Faut-il y aller à pied? Combien d'heures de marches?

There are 2 categories of pastures. Primary ones, natural, in the alpine area, at altitudes over 1700-1800 m, and secondary ones, openings in the forest in the mountain area, from 1000 to 1700 m, which were created by the locals during the recent history (several hundreds of years). Few of them are accessible by car. For most of them the walking time varies from 30 min to 4-5 hours, for the highest ones. I would say that the average is around 2 hours walking from the end of the car roads.

4/ Si les troupeaux sont gardés, y a-t-il des cabanes pour les bergers? Avec quel équipement? Peut-on avoir des photos électroniques?

There are wooden houses, which are used for sleeping and for milk processing. The processing is done presently the same as 200 years ago, I would say. Probably after 2007, when we will join the EU, there will have to be some changes, if those people will still want to sell that cheese. There is a photo attached with one of those houses. The equipment is a fireplace (the smoke is going out through the roof), and a lot of wooden and metal pottery, used for milk processing. The back room is used for cheese keeping.

5/ Y a-t-il beaucoup de prédations de la part des ours sur les animaux d'élevage? Avez vous des statistiques pour chaque années des bêtes mortes et blessées?
6/ Y a-t-il des accidents avec les personnes? Si oui, quel genre d'accidents? Y a-t-il des personnes tuées par les ours?

The average is 2% per year. And the predators are the bears and the wolves. Many of those are happening during the night, or during the hot summer days when the animals are entering the forest. There are some accidents. Around 10-15 people are wounded by bears every year (the wolves never attack people), 3-4 deadly. But most of the accidents are not happening with the shepherds. They know how to behave. The fruits and mushrooms pickers, tourists, locals from the mountain villages, and rarely towns where the bears are coming to eat from the garbage. But please keep in mind that there are 4500-5000 bears in Romania, and around 3.500-4.000 wolves. The electrical fences are starting now to be used during the night, but they are more effective against the wolves.

7/ Est ce qu'il est possible de faire de la randonnée librement dans votre parc? Quelle est la réglementation des activités de loisir vis à vis de la présence de l'ours?

Yes, it is possible, and this is the main way of visiting the park. Usually the bears are runing away when they see people. The accidents happen when you go very quiet and you surprise a female with cubs. There are no special regulations yet. But we will have some in the near future, especially regarding keeping the food (sometimes the bears are destroing the tents, if they smell food), and the behaviour in the forsted areas.

8/ Est ce qu'il existe une chasse à l'ours? Si oui, comment est-elle organisée?
9/ Est ce que les ours sont nourris par l'homme?

Yes, the bears are fed now in many areas. This is a mistake, in my opinion. I think we should provide some food in hard times, but not all the time. This is leading to a comportament change and it is increasing the numbers. Probably in the future this activity will be gradually reduced. You can see, in one afternoon, 10-15 bears coming to those feeding points.
The hunting is done either at the feeding points (which is not very ethical) and through the clasical method, with people chasing the bears towards the hunters line, which is becoming a sort of extreme sport, sometimes. In this moment there is an intense public debate on the harvesting quotas for bears. There are some NGOs saying that too many bears are killed, and that the figures are over evaluated. My personal feeling is that we should reduce the feeding, stop the hunting at the feeding points and do the evaluation very transparent, together with the NGOs and the media, so we are sure we are using the right figures. For the moment, because of that scandal, the SRG (scientific review group) dealing with the CITES convention in the EU, decided to ban the import of bear trophees in the EU from Romania, until a transparent evaluation is done. But this is probably temporary, until some of the measures that I mentioned will be applied. Anyway, I do not think that the bears sould not be hunted anymore in Romania. They have no natural enemy, and the population will fast increase, causing more problems than ussualy with people and herds, so there is a danger to have a much stronger opinion against them than now.

10/ Quelles recommandations donnez-vous aux touristes et randonneurs quand ils se trouvent face à un ours? Avez-vous un document écrit en anglais ou français?

You can look on the US web pages on that and find a lot of info on the right behaviour, in English. There are also pepper sprays made especially for that, and a friend of mine is alive now because he had the spray with him at the right moment (they were checking some traps for wolves, for research, and they went very quiet to the trap area, in order not to scare the wolf, but a bear female was around and charged).

11/ pour garder les troupeaux de moutons ou de vaches, avez vous des chiens? Quelle race? est-ce efficace pour protéger les moutons contre l'ours?

There is a breed of Romanian Sheperd (it was recognised last year, Carpathian sheepdog), but the pure lines are used more for pets than for the field work. The sheperds have dogs, bred locally, who look a little bit the same as the fashion ones. They can't afford to buy a pure one, they are too expensive, so they are using the local genetic fond. The dogs are more effective against the wolves. Against the bears, they are noisy, and often the bears are running away if they are surrounded by 4-5 dogs. Those dogs like to attack also tourist ladies, for the fun of the shepherds, who are calling them back in the last moment. Rarely, few tourists are bitten by the dogs. There is a picture attached with a genuine sheep dog (not the pure breed).

- Observations et informations diverses

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