Romania is home to some of the last remaining old-growth and primeval forests
in Europe. These expansive forests sprung up after the last ice age which ended around 12,500 years ago. Throughout the continent they have been mostly destroyed, but in Romania they still provide crucial habitat to key animal species like bears, wolves, lynx, and wildcats.
But these ecosystems are under attack. Illegal logging has encroached into the most remote regions of these pristine forests forcing the government to hire rangers charged with protecting it. But the demise of this ancient forest is only part of the tragedy.
In recent years, six forest rangers have died protecting the forests of Romania.
Illegal loggers, intent on extracting every last log from the region have now armed themselves and have proven they aren't above killing the brave men and women who put their lives at risk to protect it. Liviu Pop
, was the last ranger to fall. He had been given a tip that illegal logging was happening nearby and went to check but never returned. When his colleagues couldn't reach him, they sent out to find him. Police found his body in a gorge. The father of three's murder follows that of ranger , Raducu Gorcioaia, 50, who was found dead in his car with axe-inflictd head wounds.
These deadly attacks show that safety for Romania's forest ranger is sorely lacking. Romsilva, Romania's state-owned forest management company and government officials must conduct a thorough review of their rangers' safety. For these forests to thrive, the people who guard them must do so as well. Their safety must be a priority and the Romanian government should work to make sure that happens. Please sign the petition and ask Romsilva and government officials to reevaluate their safety measures and increase protections for the guards and animals of Romania's prehistoric forests.