Lifestyle & Belief

Lions and bears removed from Romanian gangster's property


The brown bear, which was about two years old, had repeatedly headed into inhabited areas to look for food and had started to follow people.

A Romanian man known as Nutzu the Pawnbroker has been indicted for leading a gang, and his pets — four lions and two bears — have also been removed from his property.

Nutzu, whose real name is Ion Balint, is well known for keeping wild animals at his home.

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"You said I fed men to the lions?" Balint was recorded saying on videotape as he rode away from prison on a black stallion in 2010, reported the Associated Press. "Why don't you come over and I'll give you some lions!"

According to The Sun, the beasts were sedated by workers from an animal charity and were carried from the Bucharest estate in stretchers as crowds formed around the home. They were then caged and taken to a local zoo.

Balint, 48, had other animals on his property as well, including thoroughbred horses and canaries, the AP noted. Authorities did not confirm whether or not he had been using the lions and bears to intimidate rivals.

Neighbors and relatives said Balint, a stocky man with a mustache known for wearing T-shirts and tracksuits, was a good neighbor and an animal lover. They also said the roaring lions were never a bother.

"We can hear them every day, but only when they're hungry or the female is in heat," Gabriela Ionescu, 36, told the AP while clutching her toddler daughter's hand. "They don't disturb us at all."