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Last Updated: Monday, 24 January 2005, 14:38 GMT
Romanian ace led huge boar hunt
wild boar
Wild boar are a popular quarry in Romania
Environmentalists in Romania have condemned as a "massacre" a wild boar hunting trip organised by former tennis star Ion Tiriac.

Dozens of senior politicians and Western businessmen killed more than 180 wild boar during the event, the Romanian news agency Mediafax said.

Tiriac was quoted as saying attracting westerners was good for the country.

But the conservationist Aves Foundation said the Transylvania hunt was an assault on Romania's natural resources.

Wild boar are not a protected species in Romania and boar hunts have long attracted rich western businessmen and nobility.

Some firms offer the chance to hunt boars weighing more than 300kg, with teams of at least five hunters killing between six and eight boar a day.

This is not hunting, this is a massacre
Laszlo Szabo-Szeley
Aves Foundation

Laszlo Szabo-Szeley, president of the Aves Foundation, told the BBC News Website that quotas were usually imposed and he was looking into whether the size of the weekend kill in the Bihor district was illegal.

"In the European Union it is not possible to hunt game like this," he said.

"With this method they may have destroyed the wild boar population in the area."

He said a large majority of the dead boar were reported to have been female - which at this time of year were likely to be carrying young.

"This is not hunting, this is a massacre," he said.

Business opportunity

Tiriac, a former head of the Romanian Olympic Committee, is reported to have leased the land from the state and invested in the hunting area.

The forested land in Bihor, close to the Hungarian border, was once used by former communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu.

Mediafax said Tiriac's guests at the weekend included former Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase, Wolfgang Porsche from Germany, several Spanish bankers and Julius Meinl, of the international grocery firm.

"We need these people here, in Romania, and you should know good business is done in tennis, golf and hunting," Tiriac was quoted as saying.

He said these events were only organised once a year, for two days, to allow the animal population to regenerate.


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