11/06/15 Nonchalance of the Authorities - the Bear didn't "have to be" Shot!
Animal Friends Croatia is requesting an investigation concerning the shooting of the bear
- Intervention ARZ (Autocesta Rijeka – Zagreb) team had a choice – a tranquilizer gun, but they didn't even try to use it
Animal Friends Croatia condemns the nonchalance of the intervention ARZ team, which shot the bear that entered Rijeka - Zagreb highway on a Thursday night.
Their excuse for the shooting was that they had to do it to prevent the bear from jeopardizing the drivers, but it does not correspond with the facts on the terrain. According to AFC's information, the team has waited for an hour for the bear to get out from the cut fence, but when that didn't happen they closed the traffic and sent a man with a gun and a dog to shoot the bear.
It is unclear why the intervention team immediately decided to shoot the bear instead of bringing a professional to tranquilize the bear with a tranqilizer gun first. Killing of an animal in situations like this must be the last option and not the first and only one.
ARZ claims that their intervention team, founded only a month ago, acted according to the protocol that had been made in the cooperation with the Veterinary college in Zagreb and that there wasn't anything else to do. According to Animal Friend Croatia's information, the college was not introduced with their actions in this case. Circumstances and factual evidence indicate that there were undoubtedly other things that could have been done.
The explanation that tranquilizing is dangerous because they would have to get too close to the bear isn't logical because a person with a rifle can always be followed by a person with a tranquilizer gun and shoot the animal in case of attack. Besides that, the bear could have been tranquilized by a person approaching him in a car which would secure one's safety. Further more, the explanation that tranquilizing the bear was undoable because the bear, struck with an arrow, would have staggered around for 20 more minutes. We are sure the drivers would have rather waited for the animal to be taken care of than shot. It is obvious that there are several different solutions in a situation like this and killing the animal should be the last option, when everything else fails to succeed. The intervention team did not call anyone to put the bear to sleep, they made a decision of killing the animal entirely based on their comfort and solving the problem as fast as possible.
The danger of such action consists in possibility of becoming a model for similar situations in the future, because it is easier to kill the animal than try and find the solution to save its life.
The traffic was closed, so there already wasn't any danger for the drivers, which ARZ lists as an excuse for the "intervention culling". Neither the "fear of increased traffic" can be an excuse for killing, because then it would be normal to make a decision of life or death of an animal based on the period of the day or traffic density.
It is unacceptable that wild animals in Croatia are treated like in The Wild West and that their lives depend on rashly made decisions. Instead of trying to save every life, the intervention ARZ team used method they should be ashamed of, that indicates inexpert and cold-blooded action. It is a common fact in the civilized world for experts to tranquilize big wild animals that are afterwards taken to their habitats, and it represents neither a problem nor a safety threat to them.
Bears and other animals are not guilty for people structuring highways in places that are part of their natural habitats. Therefore, the people are responsible for helping them by building green bridges, viaducts, tunnels, underpasses and overpasses as well as other ways of help, and not punishing them with a bullet.
Intervention teams on highways should hire qualified people whose only goal is not cleaning the highway as fast as possible for the smooth flow of traffic, but take every action necessary to save every animal.
Animal Friends Croatia demand the responsible institution to investigate ARZ team's intervention, with a goal of defining responsibilities for this fatal mistake and preventing repetition of this kind of brutality.