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Friday, May 7, 2010

WWF launches campaign to save Romania's bears

BUCHAREST (AFP) – Environmental group WWF on Thursday launched a fund-raising campaign to save Romania's bears, whose habitat is threatened by deforestation.

"If bears could express their feelings, they would say how sad they are to see their habitat endangered," campaign coordinator Ioana Busila told AFP.

Scarce food, conflict with humans and poaching are also threatening the bears, she added.

The World Wildlife Fund asked Romanian citizens to redirect two percent of their income tax to the campaign as the tax law allows them to do for NGOs.

The WWF has already carried out three fund-raising campaigns in Romania, but this is "the first time it appeals to people's sentiment," Busila said.

Romania is home to around 6,500 bears, or 60 percent of Europe's total bear population.

In recent years, famished bears have been seen rummaging through garbage cans in Carpathian mountain resorts such as Brasov, north of Bucharest.

Their presence has become a major tourist attraction but has sometimes led to drama, with about a dozen people injured or killed in bear attacks in recent years

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