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On 25 August the Romanian Police and members of the Environment Guard rescued a bear cub from a village guesthouse near Fagaras and have now safely moved him to the bear sanctuary Zarnesti, where he will now live alongside five other young bears.
Brought to the guesthouse by local forestry workers, he was kept in a four by four metre metal cage. He is about one year old and is called Tello.
A member of the public spotted and reported Tello’s captivity and this enabled a team, made up of the police, Fagaras County’s Association of Hunters and Fishermen, and staff from the Zarnesti bear sanctuary, to organise his safe rescue.
This rescue was reported at a press conference in Brasov and Tello’s story was covered by Romania’s national news media. The fact this story got such coverage is proof that the joint Milioane de Prieteni/WSPA work to help end this cruel captivity is succeeding and shows just how much the pubic, the authorities and the media are now helping to ensure our message gets through to those people who may have previously considered keeping a bear.
The private keeping of bears in captivity is now illegal in Romania, and thanks to Cristina Lapis and her bear sanctuary this law is now being strongly enforced. This has been the only necessary bear rescue in Zarnesti County this year, which further illustrates the effectiveness of the sanctuary, which Cristina founded in 2005.
The owner of the guesthouse now faces imprisonment for between three months and one year or a fine of between 30,000 and 60,000 lei (approximately £10,000).