For those familiar with the legend of Count Dracula and who are fond of vampire stories, a visit to Poenari Castle in Romania is a must. However, right at this moment, it’s probably not a good idea to head up there, after a mother bear and her cubs have taken the area surrounding the castle as their own. Several visitors have reportedly narrowly missed being attacked by the brown bear, protecting her three cubs.

With the news that "Vampire Diaries" might be heading for a spin-off in the near future, fans of the bloodsucking villains no doubt know the story of that most famous vampire, Count Dracula. Many may have been lucky enough to visit the Romanian castle linked to the Dracula story, but right now, this is out of the question.

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Poenari Castle – home to Vlad the Impaler

The 15th century Poenari Castle used to be called home by Prince #Vlad The Impaler Tepes, the character who inspired author Bram Stoker to write his 1897 novel “Dracula.” However, according to The Guardian, tourists usually prefer Bran Castle, located in Transylvania, which also has some associations with the gruesomely named Vlad the Impaler.

Most Dracula fans have no fear of visiting Poenari Castle with its blood-thirsty legends, but right now people are afraid of the brown bears who are currently acting as self-appointed security guards on the property. As noted by the New York Daily News, after several visitors encountered mama bear and her three cubs while climbing the intimidating 1,480 steps to the castle ruins, Romanian authorities have decided to declare the castle off-limits, as least for now.

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Permission given to capture and move the bear family

Emilian Dragnea, a local official, did say they have been given the green light by the environment ministry to capture the bear family and move them elsewhere. However, he said they haven’t yet decided on a suitable spot for mama bear and the three cubs. Reportedly Romanian police have placed the blame for the bears’ presence on the fact that tourists like to feed the animals which attracts the bears to the area even more.

This isn’t the first time Romanian authorities have had problems with bears in the region, as back in 2014 a Transylvanian politician, Csaba Borboly, asked for the army to come and deal with the growing population of bears.

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This request came after a series of cases where bears had damaged private property in the region.

Brown bear population on the rise in Romania

The brown bear population is definitely increasing in Romania, where only 50 years ago, there were approximately 1,000 bears, as compared to current numbers which put them at around 6,000. The brown bears reportedly make up 60 percent of the bear population in Europe. The brown bears can grow to an impressive size with males weighing up to 350 kg and female bears up to 200 kg. However, the largest bear ever captured in Romania weighed in a massive 480 kg – one can only imagine meeting that particular bear on the stairs up to Dracula’s Castle.