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Meat-eating bears in Vitosha mountain fed with corpses of stray dogs

2014-01-15

FOUR PAWS revealed scandalous case of poaching and animal cruelty

A scandalous case of poaching and animal cruelty was revealed this week by FOUR PAWS. On a hunting waiting spot, located on the territory of Vitosha National Park, tourists found the corpses of three stray dogs, used to feed meat-eating bears.



According to Dr. Marina Ivanova, veterinarian at FOUR PAWS, this is scandalous, since on the one hand someone intentionally sets bait for bears, and on the other - they shoot stray dogs for the purpose: "We received a signal from tourists who were hiking in the Vitosha area above the village of Chouipetlovo. On site we found three corpses of stray dogs, which had shot wounds. The corpses were set up as bait near a hunting waiting spot for some kind of large predator, and there are only brown bears in the area. One of the animals had been neutered and microchipped by us - the address where the dog was captured is in the center of Sofia. It is not clear how it got to the other side of the city."

 

Bear hunting is banned in the country, and the current practice of issuing permits for shooting was also terminated after criminal proceedings launched by the European Commission. Also forbidden is setting dead animals or parts thereof as bait in bear habitats.



"In this case it is a very imprudent case of poaching, which according to experts is probably organized by the employees of the local hunting club," Yavor Gechev from FOUR PAWS believes. "This year the winter is milder, many bears are not hibernating and have difficulties finding food. When the bears are fed with meat, they get used to it and to where the bait is being left. When the bear starts coming to the waiting spot more regularly, it is offered to a hunter. While this is absolutely illegal, the site of the Bulgarian Hunting Union "Vitoshko-Studena" even has a price list for shooting a brown bear - the price for a bear valued at 400 points is € 10,000."



FOUR PAWS recalls that the BHU "Vitoshko-Studena", part of whose territory are also the areas above the village of Chouipetlovo, is notorious with its vicious practices. Years ago, employees of the club gave out information about a current fraud scheme, in which the visiting hunters shoot at a dummy-boar, and then are presented a previously shot animal. The club is also known for its illustrious guests, including former prime ministers, presidents and MPs.

 

FOUR PAWS thanks the Ministry of Environment and Waters and the Regional Directorate of Food Safety for their quick response in the appointment and conduct of the examination of the case, but also is at a loss at why the police refused to send a representative.


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