Turkey's move to boost hunting tourism by launching tenders for hunting bears and other wild animals drew the ire of animal rights activists. Three activists filed the first lawsuit against the tender yesterday with the goal of cancelling tenders allowing selected hunters to attend hunting trips in October.
Senih Özay, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit, said he appealed to the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, which oversees hunting, to stop the move. "This is a new business and must be stopped so that bears, wild goats, red deer and other wild animals will not be killed. Activists should raise their voice more," Özay said.
Several animal rights activists claimed that tenders violated both domestic and international regulations which Turkey signed to protect wild animals.
Outrage over the hunting decision came after a new tender in the northern city of Kastamonu, renowned as a home for brown bears, sold the hunting rights for five bears to hunters who paid TL 10,000 ($3,430) per animal. A hunting party for October was approved by authorities for the five winning bidders. Tenders were also held in other cities in northern Turkey for the hunting of grizzly bears.
Brown bears are in the "wild animals" category under a law on hunting, and are therefore banned from being hunted. However, another regulation allows for harmful wild animals to be contained, in line with national and international laws. Nature Association, a Turkey-based nongovernmental association, said in a statement that brown bears are among the species that should be kept under strict preservation according to two international treaties Turkey signed. The association highlights that the ministry's decision to launch tenders clearly violated the regulations that do not include organizing hunting tenders.
More tenders were launched earlier this year to allow the hunting of animals, ranging from wild goats to deer as part of efforts to boost hunting tourism revenues. Authorities defend that the hunting will not endanger the species and, on the contrary, contribute to stabilizing overpopulated species and ensure the sustainability of the larger ecosystem.
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