Brown bear conservation and research program in a model area in Romania


The program, started in 2006, aims to contribute to the conservation of the Romanian Brown bear population through the creation of a model area in the sense of practical bear conservation and conservation oriented scientific research, demonstrating good practices applicable elsewhere too in Romania, thus producing multipliable results.


project_areaMost of the project activities are concentrated in two adjacent target areas: a hilly area (the western foothills of the Gurghiului Mountains – Romanian Eastern Carpathians, Mures County), as well as part of the Gurghiului Mountains themselves (Mures and Harghita Counties). Both areas are prime bear habitats, comprising several autumn concentration sites, as well as den concentrations. Some activities are not restricted to the two main project areas.


Objectives and activities

The main objectives and the corresponding activities of the program are, as follows:

  1. Improving the social acceptance of the species:
    1.1. Continuing our ongoing education program about bears
    1.2. Performing an information campaign in localities throughout the project sites
    1.3. Supplying the media with materials about bears and about the project
  1. Improving scientific knowledge about the species – conservation oriented research work:
    2.1. Improving scientific knowledge about bear home ranges, movement and activity patterns, habitat use
    2.2. Improving scientific knowledge about bear den characteristics and  denning habits
    2.3. Parasitological study
    2.4. Genetic study of bears
  1. Securing a suitable habitat for the bears:
    3.1. Inclusion into the Natura2000 network
    3.2. Mitigating the negative effects of the planned Tg. Mures-Iasi-Ungheni highway
    3.3. Studying the effects of limiting human access to bear habitat

Some of our results

6 new protected areas (Natura 2000 sites) designated for brown bears (and other species / habitats of EU importance), on the basis of the EU Habitats Directive – for a total of 104,889 ha (ROSCI0297, ROSCI0303, ROSCI0304, ROSCI0327, ROSCI0352, ROSCI0357)

Peer-reviewed publications

Nowak C., Domokos C., Dutsov A. & Frosch C. (2014). Molecular evidence for historic long-distance translocations of brown bears in the Balkan region. Conservation Genetics, 15(3), 743-747 (doi:10.1007/s10592-014-0570-7)

Cristescu B*, Domokos C*, Teichman KJ & Nielsen SE (submitted for peer-review) Potential of the Romanian protected area system to conserve brown bears, wolves and Eurasian lynx [*shared first authorship]



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Frankfurt Zoological Society 

The Nando Peretti Foundation

International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA)

Matra-Knipp Programme, Netherlands Embassy in Bucharest


Bogdan Cristescu, University of Cape Town (

Kristine J Teichman, University of Cape Town / The Cape Leopard Trust (

Scott Nielsen, Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta


Senckenberg Research Institute, Conservation Genetics Group (

Vets4Wild (

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3 Responses to Brown bear conservation and research program in a model area in Romania

  1. Pingback: În 2011 Grupul Milvus a împlinit 20 de ani – Milvus Group

  2. Codrut Bratu says:

    AVPS Nirajul Mic, gestionarul fondului de vanatoare 47 Bereni solicita aprobarea “recoltarii” a 2 URSI, 1 LUP si 2 PISICI SALBATICE in anul 2011, prin derogare de la prevederile legale privind speciile din fauna salbatica protejate de lege. Se pare ca proiectul dvs nu prea a dat roade …
    ing. Codrut Bratu, ITRSV Brasov, ISV Mures

    • Stimate Dle Bratu,

      Stiu ce solicita AVPS Nirajul Mic (ii cunosc, si cunosc si zona destul de bine) – si cam acelasi lucru e solicitat de toate asociatiile de vanatoare din zona bazinelor hidrografice superioare ale Nirajului Mic, respectiv a Tarnavei Mici (respectiv din toate fondurile de vanatoare cu ursi din Romania).
      Daca va uitati la obiectivele / activitatile proiectului, la momentul de fata vanatoarea ursilor nu reprezinta o prioritate pentru noi. Pentru ca daca in zona respectiva se va construi autostrada Tg Mures-Iasi-Ungheni (in varianta planificata), sunt sanse bune ca in cativa ani dansii degeaba o sa mai ceara autorizatii de recoltare – n-o sa mai aiba ursi – sau alte carnivore mari…

      Csaba Domokos,
      coordonator proiect

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