Environmentalists criticise a hunting excursion for high-profile politicians and businessmen.
A hunting party in north-western Romania, which drew many local and foreign businessmen, ended on Sunday with what media and green activists called “true carnage”- over 150 wild boars were killed. The hunt was organised by tennis player turned businessman Ion Tiriac, who is also one of the country’s richest men.
Tiriac holds the lease to the Balc hunting facilities in north west Romania, where the gathering took place. With him were some 30 guests, including businessmen Wolfgang Porsche and Klaus Mangold of DaimlerChrysler, and Spanish banker Jose Merino Jimenez, according to local media reports.
“These kind of events are an excellent opportunity to socialise, make new friends and discuss politics or business,” said Elan Schwartzenberg, an Israeli with businesses in Romania, who was one of the few participants who agreed to speak about the hunting party.
While Ion Tiriac’s lawyers have argued that the boars are brought in from a local breeding facility and are not a protected species, environmentalists say the magnitude of the hunt and the involvement of so many top-level executives and politicians are matters of concern.
The international environmental group Vier Pfoten has criticised the size of the hunt. “It’s time that this kind of animal massacre comes to an end. We are not questioning the legality of this hunting event but its magnitude, as in the last six years around 1,200 wild boar were killed in the Balc contained area,” Veronica Tulpan, head of national program at the group, argued.
In the past, Romanian authorities also questioned the management of the animals in the Balc area and the legality of the contract under which the hunting ground was leased, though no irregularities were discovered.
In late 2004, the government of former prime minister Adrian Nastase granted Ion Tiriac a a 49-year lease on the Balc grounds without a public auction. Soon after Nastase lost elections but for several years he was among the participants at the hunting events in Balc.
In Romania, like in many other ex-communist countries, hunting has long been associated with the old nomenklatura. Former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu often hunted bears, wild boars, and black goats in the mountains.
Since 1990, hunting has become increasingly popular among rich foreigners and Romania’s nouveau riche and political elite.