STA, 12 June 2020 - The Agency for the Environment has issued a permit for the culling of 115 brown bears until September this year across multiple parts of Slovenia that are home to a large brown bear population.
Culling has long been the main way in which the Slovenian brown bear population has been kept in check and the Environment Agency said on Friday there was "no other satisfactory possibility" and that the cull "does not harm the preservation of the favourable state of the population".
The cull will be undertaken to mitigate human-bear conflicts in areas where the density of the bear population is high. According to the agency's data, in some parts of south Slovenia densities can be as high as one animal per two square kilometres, among the highest in the world.
Human-bear conflicts have been on the rise in recent years, in particular in areas with a high density of bears and in the vicinity of human settlements. Without intervention, conflicts would only increase.
The latest estimates, for 2020, put Slovenia's brown bear population, which is a part of a large Dinaric population that stretches across Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, at 860-1,120 animals, the agency said.
Brown bear culling has long been a controversial measure and environmentalists have been fighting it in court year after year.
But the scientific consensus is that the population is thriving and must be controlled so as to prevent conflicts from escalating, which may ultimately undermine public acceptance of the very existence of a population of large carnivores in the country.