A row has erupted after it emerged that a brown bear shot dead by an Austrian prince in Romania was not the animal terrorising farmers.
A special license had been issued which allowed for the killing of a mother bear that was causing damage to farmland and threatening lives.
However, according to the environmental group Agent Green, Prince Emanuel von und zu Liechtenstein used the concession to hunt what was possibly one the largest male brown bears left in Europe.
According to reports, the trophy-hunting prince paid €7,000 (£6,100) to add the animal, which he has named Arthur, to his collection of conquests.
According to Agent Green, a Romanian non-governmental organisation, the prince availed of a derogation from the local Ministry of the Environment as a pretext to shoot the bear.
“But in reality, the prince did not kill the problem bear, but a male that lived deep in the woods and had never come close to localities,” said the organisation.
“The bear named Arthur has been observed for many years by the Agent Green ranger in the area and was known
as a wild specimen not accustomed to man’s presence and the food sources he offered.”
Gabriel Paun, the president of Agent Green, said the shot bear was aged about 17 and was the largest ever seen in Romania.
“The corpse’s measurements indicate that Arthur had 593 points out of 600, which is the maximum possible in the trophy hunting industry,” he said.
“I have never heard of such a record score before. I wonder how the prince could confuse a female bear coming to the village with the largest male that existed in the depths of the forest.
“It is clear that the prince did not come to solve the problem of the locals but to kill the bear and take home the biggest trophy to hang it on the wall.”
Ann-Kathrin Freude, campaign coordinator of the Austrian-based animal rights group Verein Gegen Tierfabriken (VGT), also condemned the prince’s actions.
“It is a shame for Austria that Prince Emanuel abused a derogation to kill this beautiful bear just to add another success to his list of trophies,” she said.
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