STA, 26 April 2019 - The Farmers' Trade Union staged a protest on Friday, demanding that the government take immediate action, as a growing bear population is causing considerable damage to herds. Agriculture Ministry State Secretary Marko Maver promised farmers that an extraordinary kill measure would be ordered to mitigate the situation.
The protest was staged ten days after the Administrative Court sided with an environmental NGO that challenged the ministry's order to kill 200 bears this year.
The bear population is estimated at 750 in Slovenia, while in the early 1990s it was at 350. Currently, the population expands by 200 bears a year and could reach nearly 1,000 by the end of the year unless 200 are killed or relocated.
Unionist Roman Žveglič said that the ministry staff had listened carefully and promised to launch the measure of extraordinary killing in places where bears were causing the most damage.
Maver told the press that the ministry understood the distress of farmers. "We are all aware of the importance of sustainable management of bear population."
The ministry will moreover appeal the Administrative Court's decision and is drafting "additional documents on why the proposed number is justified," said Maver.
Žveglič said that in case the ministry failed to provide assistance, farmers would stage civil disobedience. "This means that we will start hunting wild animals ourselves, poisoning and shooting them."
At the rally, staged in front of the ministry, Florjan Peternel, a farmer from Ilirska Bistrica (SW), brought with him the remains of calves attacked by bears.
Until recently, his herd had no calves due to bear attacks in 2017 and 2018. "A fortnight ago, calvings started and 15 cows had calves. But yesterday, disaster struck. None survived."
All our stories about bears in Slovenia can be found here