years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
In Asia, where dogs are seen as both friends....and food, a growing number of canine ambassadors are emerging as a result of groundbreaking initiatives being introduced by Animals Asia.
In the first programme of its kind in the region, using recommendations compiled by TRAFFIC East Asia, Animals Asia's Detective Dog "Simba" worked with the Incheon Customs Department in South Korea to spearhead the fight against the trade in endangered species.
In April 2000, following an historic signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Korea Customs Service and Animals Asia Foundation, "Simba" was introduced to the world as the first CITES substance sniffer dog in Asia.
Dedicated Simba worked in South Korea's Incheon airport with his handler Han Jae-eun to literally "sniff out" smuggled bear gall bladders, bear bile products, tiger bone, ivory and deer musk. In his two years of employment, Simba repeatedly detected major finds almost every month - totalling an astonishing 142 separate animal parts. These included over 80 finds of bear bile and deer musk, as well as whole bear gall bladders, snakes and seal penis. Simba even found 4 live baby monkeys and 22 kilos of marijuana for which he was not even trained! Simba's numerous finds resulted in a number of prosecutions.
The success of Simba's role in directly tackling the issue of illegal animal parts had many implications: in a country where over 2 million dogs are eaten each year, Simba's achievements were ground-breaking. In recognition of his incredible success, Simba was awarded an honorary certificate in December 2000, from the Korean Minister of the Environment for "Exceptional Service."
Intensive negotiations to introduce Detective Dog in to Hong Kong and China over the last few years led to nothing. Given the problems we faced, we decided to retire Simba to a loving home. Animals Asia still believes in the power of this programme as an enforcement tool for the illegal wildlife trade and stand ready to reintroduce Detective Dog should we be approached by interested parties.