Romanian police will investigate a possible poaching case involving an Austrian prince who is reported to have “wrongly” killed Arthur, the largest bear in the country, in a trophy hunt on a visit to the country’s Carpathian Mountains in March, authorities said . Romania is home to Europe’s biggest population of brown bears, officially around 6,000 and officially banned trophy hunting in 2016.
It now only grants hunting permits for “problematic” bears which are sold to trophy hunters. Official hunting documents seen by The Associated Press confirms that Prince Emanuel von und zu Liechtenstein was granted a four-day hunting permit in March in Romania’s Covasna County and that on March 13 he “harvested” a 17-year-old brown bear, for which he allegedly paid €7,000. But according to the Agent Green NGO, the derogation granted to the prince was to kill a female bear that had caused some damage to local farms. A senior official from Romania’s environmental ministry, Octavian Berceanu, told the AP that an investigation into the case was launched on April 29 and that poaching is the one of the suspicions in the case. Berceanu also said that some official papers that are required after a bear kill are missing. Switzerland’s Blick newspaper quoted the prince as saying he wouldn’t comment on the matter.