Illegal traps: new 3-legged animal “species” emerges in Romania | WWF

Illegal traps: new 3-legged animal “species” emerges in Romania

Posted on 24 July 2016
A three-legged bear in Romania
© ACBD Romania
In February 2016, a brown bear got caught in an illegal snare in the forests of Vrancea, in the eastern part of Romania. If it wasn’t for the camera traps installed by the Romanian NGO ACDB and the Vrancea Agency for Environmental Protection, this might have been the end of that bear’s story.

The project team managed to set the bear free and checked to see if  the wound was starting to heal. Despite losing one leg, the bear was still agile and seemed determined to continue living.

Severely damaged bears or wild boars are becoming so common in the Romanian Carpathians that the ACDB experts declared the emergence of a new species of wildlife: the three-legged animals.

How to avoid poaching?

On a continent where 40% of mammals are threatened by extinction, the Carpathians offer one of the last opportunities for the survival of Europe’s brown bears and other large carnivores. Yet, poaching and the loss and fragmentation of habitats are still a great threat. Not enough is being done to protect the brown bear against it.
The brown bear is strictly protected at European and national level, by the Habitats Directive. Its hunting should be strictly regulated to control population and eliminate  problematic individuals which pose a serious threat to humans.

Using snares to trap and kill different wild animals has a long history in Europe, but now it is illegal and considered as poaching. It may lead to irreversible injuries and animals end up losing one leg or other parts of their body. In these cases, survival rates are general very low.

Poaching is often linked to social and economic constraints for rural communities who live off low paid or temporary  jobs. It can be reduced by raising awareness and increasing the income of rural communities with more sustainable activities like ecotourism and wildlife watching.

This story was developed by WWF Romania and ACDB (July 2016)
A three-legged bear in Romania
© ACBD Romania Enlarge