Female bear with two cubs shot dead in Greece

A hideous environmental crime in Greece: a mother bear and her cubs were killed in a Natura 2000 area. Again and again, Europe's large carnivores fall victim to poaching.

A mother bear and two cubs lie shot in the grass.

A gruesome sight: the shot mother bear

On Sunday, December 3rd, a citizen reported to the police that three brown bears where shot near the Ioannina-Kozani national road in the Epirus region in the far northwest of Greece. The autopsy revealed that the animals were shot with a hunting rifle. It was a six-year-old mother bear and her two one-year-old cubs. The exact circumstances of the crime have not yet been clarified. Brown bears are strictly protected in Greece. The fact that this bear family was killed in a protected area shows how widespread poaching is in large parts of the country and that the control of the areas by trained personnel is often inadequate.

"We are shocked by the news that have reached us from Greece", says EuroNatur project manager Antje Henkelmann. "Together with our Greek partners, we request the authorities in charge not to stop the investigation until the perpetrator or perpetrators are identified and then brought to justice. Poaching is not a trivial offense and counteracts our efforts to protect large carnivores such as bears and wolves."

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