A prince in Liechtenstein has been blamed for shooting one of Europe’s largest bears during a hunting expedition in Romania.
Environmental campaign group Agent Green suspect that Prince Emanuel von und Zu had a permit to shoot a female bear that had caused damage to farms.
But instead, he apparently shot Arthur, a 17-year-old brown bear, who lived in a protected area and is believed to be Romania’s largest bear.
“But in reality, the prince did not kill the problem bear, but a male that lived deep in the woods,” Agent Green claim.
Documents shared by Agent Green confirmed that Prince Emanuel, who lives in Austria, was granted a four-day hunting permit in March in Covasna County in Romania.
Gabriel Paun, the president of Agent Green, said: “I wonder how the prince could confuse a female with a chicken 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.
“We are dealing with a game of poaching since they shot the wrong bear.”
Brown bears are protected animals under international law and in 2016 Romania outlawed trophy hunting.
However, exceptions have been granted by Romania’s environment minister in extreme cases when a bear has caused damage or threatened people.
The mayor of Ojdula confirmed to Agent Green that locals had reported bear attacks, but all the attacks were executed by a female bear.
“Every farmer I spoke to said that nothing had changed since the male bear was shot and that the female continued to come to the household daily,” Mr Paun said.
Ann-Kathrin Freude, the campaign co-ordinator at animal welfare charity, VGT, added: “It is a shame for Austria that Prince Emanuel abused a derogation to kill this beautiful bear.”
A senior official from Romania’s environmental ministry, Octavian Berceanu, told the Associated Press that an investigation into the case was launched on 29 April and that poaching is one of the suspicions in the case.
A spokesperson for the Princely House in Liechtenstein told Sky News that it is unable to comment on the matter as it’s personal to the prince.
“The Princely House would like to point out that respect for nature has been one of the fundamental concerns of the house and is a central element of the family’s commitment to ecological and social sustainability,” the spokesperson added.
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