Andrew Noble, the newly installed British ambassador to Romania, announced during his first press conference that he adopted a bear.
“Although I’ve only been in Romania for a short period, I have already adopted a bear from the Zarnesti Bear Sanctuary,” he said. “We have called him Hansel.”
After spending three years in Bucharest as a member of the British Embassy team between 1983 and 1986, Mr Noble returned to the country a month ago, spending a few weeks in Iași, where he improved his Romanian, before taking up his appointment as ambassador on August 28. Mr Noble was previously the British ambassador to Algeria.
The Zarnesti Bear Sanctuary was set up in 1998 by Cristina Lapis after she saw three bears in a small cage outside a restaurant in central Romania, where they were used to attract customers. She later found more bears being exploited in a similar way in other areas of the country.
The sanctuary is now home to more than 70 bears.
More than 6,000 brown bears are believed to live in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains.