TWO best friends from Retford are planning the trip of a lifetime this month to help save brown bears from a life of cruel captivity.
Adele Thomas and Lee Scott (right) will trek as part of a group through Romainia’s Carpathian Mountains to raise awareness of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).
The 50km hike through the mountains ends with a trip to the Romanian bear sanctuary - a unique opporunity to see the WSPA’s work first hand.
They hope to riase at least £2,500 each for projects such as the bear sanctuary, which currently houses 57 bears.
“We absolutely adore all animals and we want to raise local awareness of WSPA and its work through our fundraising,” said Adele.
“I’m starting to get really excited about the prospect of seeing the bears now, I think it’ll be a once in a lifetime experience and I probably won’t want to come home.”
Many bears at the sanctuary were origiannly 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.
Rescued or confiscated bears are often unable to adapt to a life in the wild. For these animals the best option is a forested sanctuary in which they can behave as naturally as possible.
Adele and Lee are encouraging other local people to sign up for the trek themselves or lend their support by sponsoring the mission.
WSPA community fundraising manager Jane Rockliffe said: “We are thrilled to have Adele and Lee raising money for WSPA. There is still time for other people to apply for the trek and together I hope we can raise enough money to help feed and care for the rescued bears at the sanctuary.”
International bear expert and WSPA Wildlife Advisor, Victor Watkins added: “I am so pleased that the bears are healthy enough to go back to the forest where they belong.”
“Recently, a blind bear who had spent his life chained to railings and used as a tourist attraction, was set free into the sanctuary and we’re all so happy at how well he has adapted. We hope to be able to give many more bears this chance.”
To make a donation to Adele or lee visit www.justgiving.com/Adele-Thomas or www.justgiving.com/Lee-Scott.
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.