A TRANENT-based charity which campaigns against cruelty to bears has announced a new addition to its adoption programme.

The Winton Foundation for the Welfare of Bears, established in October 2010 by Tranent woman Lesley Winton, is supporting a variety of different schemes around the world which provide care for endangered or abused animals.

The charity aims to adopt bears from sanctuaries around the world and provide financial support towards the animals' ongoing care.

Lesley explained: "The first bear we adopted was Bodo, rescued from the brutal bear farming industry in China and we are delighted to introduce the second member of our adoptive family, Max." Captured as a cub from the wild, Max was used as a tourist attraction in the town of Sinaia in Romania, where his owner would chain him to railings leading to the famous Peles Castle so tourists would pay for a photograph next to the bear.

By night, he was caged in a four-metre square area and during the day he was dragged by a rope around his neck to be chained to railings 10 metres away.

Max was rescued in 2006 and taken to the Libearty Sanctuary in Romania. Vets then found he was completely blind.

Lesley said: "The Winton Bear Foundation has adopted Max to help care for him for the rest of his life and help the amazingly hard-working staff at the Libearty sanctuary in Romania." The foundation has enjoyed recent success in adding to its 'honey pot' of funds. A Christmas fair in the Corn Exchange in December, combined with a July summer fair, raised nearly �800. A further �447 was added at the organisation's first birthday bash in October.

Anyone wishing to volunteer or support the foundation can contact Lesley at lesleyjwinton@tiscali.co.uk or by calling 07904 733137.