Behind the scenes with Evanna Lynch in Romania
Evanna Lynch, best known for her role as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter film series, recently met our rescued bears in Romania
Get a behind-the-scenes look at Evanna's trip to the Romanian bear sanctuary from World Animal Protection's Katie Hobbs:
We met Evanna early at London Heathrow airport. A day of travel ensues and we use the opportunity to chat about the bears, our 10 year partnership with the sanctuary, and of course Harry Potter! We arrive in Bucharest and settle for an early night in preparation for the long day to follow.
It’s an early start for the 3 hour drive to Brasov (the closest town to the bear sanctuary). Although long, the journey is beautiful at this time of year as we travel into autumnal Romanian countryside.
We arrive in Brasov and immediately meet World Animal Protection Wildlife Advisor, Victor Watkins. We have 30mins to freshen up before Cristina Lapis (founder of Asociatia Miloane de Prieteni (AMP)/the bear sanctuary) and her husband Roger, arrive to greet us.
We learn that Romanian media want to interview Evanna at the anniversary event due to take place the next day, Cristina and Victor explain how this provides a fantastic opportunity to draw public attention to important messages, particularly with regard to the few bears in Romania still in need of rescue. Evanna listens intently, asks questions and is clearly willing to assist however she can.
Our next stop of the day is the undisputable highlight of our trip – Libearty Bear Sanctuary. A first glimpse of one of the magnificent bears never fails to take your breath away; knowing what they have been through prior to arrival at the sanctuary, and seeing the vast, peaceful and loving space where they live now is extremely heart-warming and motivating. Evanna’s sincere love for animals is clear as she is visibly moved when learning about the bears and their stories.
In particular, Evanna met Ina, a beautiful female bear who only arrived at the sanctuary earlier this year. Ina is still recovering from her traumatic past and adjusting to sanctuary life. Evanna was impressed to learn that the screen attached around Ina’s enclosure was there to give Ina privacy, away from visitors, allowing her the time, space and security that she needs to develop her confidence at her own pace.
We were also thrilled to be graced by a fleeting visit from Cristi! Lydia was likely nearby but we didn’t see her through the trees. One word to describe Cristi is HUGE(!), he was the biggest bear that we saw by far, he is clearly highly respected by the other bears; it was truly wonderful to see him looking so well and as handsome as ever.
We return to the sanctuary early, ahead of the official event, it was a beautiful morning - the forecasted rain never appeared and we had sunshine on our side. We stayed in a quiet area of the sanctuary and had the incredible privilege of being in close proximity to a group of rescued bears who stayed near to us eating and snoozing for most of the morning. Evanna helped us gain photo and video materials that will be a huge help to many of our offices.
The anniversary event began at midday. Around 50 guests arrived, including the tourism minister, foreign dignitaries, the British Ambassador, and the local mayor – it was a fantastic turn-out!
Evanna was a wonderful help and happily gave her time for photos, autographs and media interviews; she did a brilliant job helping to highlight the incredible value of the sanctuary, our partnership, and what so many World Animal Protection supporters around the world have helped to achieve for bears in Romania.
We're celebrating a decade of work rescuing and protecting bears at the Romanian sanctuary with our partner Asociatia Milioane de Prieteni (AMP).
To learn more about our work with bears and other animals in the wild, click here.