TWO friends from Retford have conquered Romania’s Carpathian Mountains to help save brown bears from cruelty.
Best mates Adele Thomas and Lee Scott joined 23 other volunteers to hike 50km, scaling peaks double the height of Ben Nevis on their way to visit the World Society for the Protection of Animals’ (WSPA) Romanian bear sanctuary – the largest of its kind in Europe.
“Lee and I both thoroughly enjoyed the trip, it was an amazing experience,” said Adele.
“The trek was tougher than I expected it to be because it was very hot and the hills were very steep, but we managed it!”
“When we got to the bear sanctuary and saw the sort of thing the money we’ve raised goes towards it made all of the hard work worthwhile.”
Many of the bears the trekkers saw at the sanctuary were originally taken from the wild as cubs and their mothers shot, because cubs are easier to control.
The majority of bears have been rescued from a life entertaining tourists, billed as ‘roadside attractions’.
The duo were treated to a rare sighting of one of the sanctuary’s oldest residents, Ursula.
Ursula is 29 years old and the only Asiatic black bear in the sanctuary.
Until WSPA staff rescued her from Romania’s Buhusi Zoo in June 2008, she had only ever known a barren pen measuring just ten square metres.
As well as the bears in the sanctuary, the pair also came close to encountering a bear in the wild, with the trek having to be halted at one point when the trek leader spotted a bear eating berries further up the track.
The group waited until the bear moved off before safely continuing on their way.
Since September 2007 nearly 100 animal lovers have taken part in WSPA’s Romanian Bear Adventure, between them raising over £250,000.
Between them, they have raised almost £3,000 which could provide nourishing food for five bears for one year.
You can still support Adele Thomas and Lee Scott through their www.justgiving.com pages.
WSPA Community Fundraising Manager Jane Rockliffe said: “Everyone at WSPA would like to congratulate Adele and Lee on their achievement and thank everyone who supported them.”
“The money they have raised will be a fantastic contribution towards the cost of looking after animals like the bears in our Romanian sanctuary.”
If you are interested in taking part in the WSPA Bear Adventure contact Jane Rockliffe on 0800 316 9772 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.