WWF Magyarország

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Wild animals banned from Romanian circuses


The Romanian government has prohibited the use of wild animals in circus performances in the country. The scenes in which tigers, lions, bears, elephants or other wild animals, are forced to perform various acrobatics to entertain the public become history after 56 years of circus performances in Romania. The country has become one of 25 European states to introduce such a ban.

The law, initiated by Remus Cernea and Vier Pfoten in 2015, was relaunched this year after 11 animals, including two Siberian tigers, died in a fire that burned down the Globus Circus in Bucharest in January. Following the tragic event, WWF-Romania sent a message to the country’s political class: “Free the animals! Their place is in the wild, not in the circus”. The campaign was supported by more than 10,000 animal and nature lovers who signed the WWF petition in the first 24 hours. To date, more than 63,000 signatures have added their signature to the petition.

The bill, which was initially rejected by the Romanian Senate, passed through all specialized committees in the Chamber of Deputies and on 13 June 2017 was voted in plenary. The law states that the use of vertebrate animals, regardless of their degree of taming, born in captivity or captured in nature, in circus shows or in any other similar performances, is forbidden. If the animals were under the responsibility of public or private institutions, they will be relocated to reserves, sanctuaries or zoos no later than 18 months after the law enters into force.

“Today is an important day, not just for tigers, but for all wild animals. There are less than 4,000 tigers in the wild, so we all understand how important the steps are which we have made until now. Banning these activities slightly reduces the pressure we put on wild animals, by eliminating part of the market demand. No tiger, lion, bear or elephant will suffer any longer in Romania just for the fun of a few people. None will come to circuses in Romania and the traveling circuses will no longer be able to come to our country with these animals. Our society, fortunately, is evolving, and this was shown by the dozens of signatures for the protection of circus animals. In addition, using this pressure of the society can make laws evolve as well" said Magor Csibi, director of WWF Romania.
13 countries with tiger populations in the wilderness: a total of 3,890 tigers

At the 2010 Tiger Summit in Saint Petersburg, Russia, global leaders and representatives of all the governments of the 13 tiger-populated countries (Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Nepal, Russia and Thailand) pledged to double the number of specimens of this species (a target known as Tx2) until the next Chinese Year of the Tiger, in 2022. At the time of the summit there were only 3,200 tigers in the wild - compared to 100,000 about a century before. In the wilderness, there is currently an estimated population of 3890 tigers, with figures growing in India, Russia, Nepal and Bhutan. However, the situation remains precarious. India lost 76 tigers in 2016 only because of poaching, while China, Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia, with fewer than 500 tigers together, could lose theirs in the next 10 years.