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Tooth and claw: protective mother bear cuts off Dracula’s castle

Brown bear protecting three cubs closes Poenari Castle used by Romanias Vlad the Impaler in the 15th century

While Draculas legend usually fails to scare tourists away from the blood-sucking vampires 15th century castle, a large, furry and protective mother bear has had more success.

Romanian authorities have declared Poenari castle off limits after visitors climbing the 1,480 steps up to the ruins had close shaves with the animal and her three cubs.

The environment ministry has given us the green light for the four bears to be captured and moved elsewhere, local official Emilian Dragnea said in a statement.

But we still have to decide where to remove them to, he said.

Police blamed tourists for leaving food which attracts the animals.

Poenari Castle was used by Prince Vlad the Impaler Tepes, the inspiration for Bram Stokers 1897 gothic novel Dracula. The bigger tourist attraction however is Bran Castle in Transylvania, which has tangential associations with Vlad the Impaler.

In 2014 a senior politician from the Transylvanian region called for the army to be brought in to deal with the growing number of bears, following a string of cases involving damage to private property.

The [bear] problem needs the involvement of specialised state institutions such as the police, the paramilitary and even the army, Csaba Borboly said.

Romania is home to around 6,000 brown bears, up from around 1,000 bears 50 years ago. They represent 60% of the European bear population.

Brown bears are amongst the largest living carnivores and can grow to an enormous size, males up to 350kg, and females to 200kg. The largest brown bear on record was caught in Romania and weighed 480kg.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/10/protective-mother-bear-cuts-off-draculas-romanian-castle

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