Bulgaria to ban bear-hunting again

Bulgaria's government tabled on Wednesday a bill in parliament reinstating a ban on hunting brown bears that had been eased in 2010 after a man was mauled to death.

The legislation, allowing a quota of three percent of Bulgaria's bear population to be killed, had been criticised by environmentalists and the European Commission.

The small Balkan country has one of Europe's largest bear populations with as many as 800 animals roaming Bulgaria's mountains, often attacking flocks and beehives in villages.

Data by the farming ministry showed that 27 bear-hunting permits were issued in 2011 and 2012 but only two animals were actually hunted down legally, while poaching continued.

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