An engineering student is to trek Romania’s Carpathian Mountains to fundraise over £2,000 for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

Lavender Hill resident, Max Gilbert, 21, will endure a 50km mountainous hike to the WSPA Romanian bear sanctuary, near Zarnesti, as part of the organisation’s Romanian Bear Adventure.

Originally from Clapham and a former student of Dulwich College, Gilbert is now a final year Mechanical Engineering student at Imperial College.

The challenge will be complete a series of tasks over summer which include a 100 mile Dragon Ride in Wales, the 150 mile Coast to Coast race from John O’Groats to Land’s End, and the L'Étape du Tour, along the professional Tour De France route.

Mr Gilbert explained, “bears are much loved by children, we grow up with teddy bears and toys, but most people really don’t know how badly treated bears really are.

“They are tortured in fights with dogs, they are farmed for their bile in China - they suffer terribly inhumane acts. Bear cruelty needs more awareness and more fundraising.”

Bear specialist and WSPA Wildlife Advisor, Victor Watkins said: “Romania’s remaining captive bears pace around cramped cages, suffering truly miserable lives and never having the chance to move freely, climb a tree or even hibernate.”

Mr Gilbert’s donation will help support projects like the sanctuary in Romania, where the WSPA and the Romanian ‘A Million Friends’ organisation save bears from their lives as illegal and cruel tourist attractions.

The sanctuary covers 170 acres of open woodland, with large ponds and space to forage and make dens.