STA, 12 June 2019 - The government adopted an intervention bill ordering the culling of overgrown bear and wolf populations on Wednesday. The move comes after a decree with the same order was successfully challenged by an environmental NGO in Administrative Court, leading to a steep increase in wolf and bear attacks on farm animals this year.
The bill stipulates the "removal" of 200 bears, of which 175 are to be culled, while the rest is expected to perish naturally or in car accidents or other incidents. Moreover, 11 wolves are to be culled.
Slovenia is home to 12 wolf packs, each five to ten strong, Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec said as she announced this bill earlier this week. She also said that wolves alone had killed 72 sheep, 19 cows, 15 horses, a donkey and two other farm animals this year.
Slovenia's bear population, which was on the brink of extinction in early 20th century, is estimated at about 1,000, whereas a population of some 400 bears is deemed optimal.
While bear attacks have also caused significant damage in agriculture, with livestock herds decimated in some cases, the government also says that there is a significant risk of bear attacks on humans.
Experts believe that Slovenia's bear population has reached a number that should not be exceeded, underlining that acceptance of big carnivores by the population is key in successful management of their population.
Slovenia has been nearing a boiling point in this respect, with farmers and agricultural associations staging rallies to protest against the government's inaction in the face of their decimated herds.
The bill, drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture, has been filed by the Ministry of Environment, which is in charge of large carnivores management in Slovenia.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary environment and agriculture committees will hold a joint session this afternoon to discuss the attacks of bears and wolves on livestock.