Wildlife of Europe Series - Romania
Romania is a country with a rich and diverse wildlife, consisting of a wide range of species of animals and plants. This biodiversity is due to the country's geographical location, which makes it a bridge between the temperate and Mediterranean zones, as well as its varied terrain, which includes mountains, forests, rivers, and wetlands.
One of the most iconic species in Romania's wildlife is the brown bear. Romania is home to one of the largest populations of brown bears in Europe, with estimates ranging from 4,000 to 6,000 individuals. The Carpathian Mountains, which cover about a third of the country's territory, provide a suitable habitat for these large omnivores. However, the brown bear population has been under threat due to habitat loss, poaching, and conflicts with humans. In recent years, efforts have been made to address these issues, including the establishment of protected areas and the implementation of bear conservation programs. For example, in 2016, the Romanian government launched a project aimed at reducing human-bear conflicts by providing electric fences and other measures to protect beehives and crops.
Another iconic animal in Romania's wildlife is the gray wolf. Like the brown bear, the wolf has faced threats to its survival due to habitat loss and persecution by humans. However, the wolf population in Romania has been slowly recovering in recent years, thanks to conservation efforts such as the establishment of protected areas and the implementation of anti-poaching measures. For example, in 2016, the government of Romania launched a project aimed at reducing illegal hunting of wolves by increasing surveillance and strengthening penalties for poachers.
Romania is also home to a variety of other mammals, including lynx, wild boar, red deer, and chamois. Many of these species are found in the Carpathian Mountains, where they have adapted to the harsh mountain environment. However, these species have also been affected by habitat loss and poaching, and many are considered threatened or endangered. In recent years, conservation efforts have focused on protecting these species by creating and managing protected areas and enforcing laws against poaching.
Romania is also a haven for birdwatchers, with over 400 species of birds recorded in the country. Some of the most notable bird species include the white-tailed eagle, the Eurasian eagle-owl, and the black stork. However, many bird species in Romania are threatened by habitat loss and degradation, as well as by illegal hunting and trapping. In recent years, conservation efforts have focused on protecting important bird habitats, such as wetlands and forests, and enforcing laws against bird poaching and trapping.
In addition to mammals and birds, Romania is also home to a diverse range of reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Some of the most notable reptile species in Romania include the European pond turtle and the Balkan green lizard. The country is also home to several species of amphibians, including the fire salamander and the Danube crested newt. In recent years, efforts have been made to protect the habitats of these species, such as wetlands and rivers, through the establishment of protected areas and the implementation of conservation programs.
Conservation efforts in Romania have been ongoing for several decades, but significant progress has been made in the last 20 years. One of the most notable achievements has been the establishment of protected areas, which now cover over 23% of the country's territory. These protected areas include national parks, nature reserves, and biosphere reserves, and are managed by the government and non-governmental organizations. These areas provide critical habitat for many of Romania's wildlife species, and also promote sustainable tourism and economic development in rural areas.