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).
Seven more health-checks and more ailments uncovered
Jill arrived at the Moon Bear Rescue Centre on Friday evening and joined the vet team on the rest of the health-checks over the weekend. Her descriptions of these very individual bears follow:
First to be anaesthetised this morning was "Peggy" - a huge girl with a beautiful “Rupert-lookalike” face and the wobbliest bottom I've seen in a long time. Poor girl has a suspected snare scar which snaked around her left foreleg. She also has two lumps on her abdomen, thought by Heather to be old puncture wounds as a result of perpetual stabbing with an unsterile needle during bile extraction. Bald rear-end, and appalling teeth with lots of tartar and fractured canines.
Next on the makeshift clinic floor was “Noodle” – a youngster, long and lean like spaghetti, with a horribly damaged and infected tongue. The edges of the wound had black dead flesh that Heather cut away, leaving the poor lad with a forked tongue. We all winced for him, thinking how painful it will be over the next couple of days for him to eat – so lots of pain killers and no orange juice for a while! Noodle has a lovely spotty crescent and gorgeous soft and silky fur.
Noodle’s tongue has a large, infected injury with dead flesh that had to be cut away.
Next was “Tuan” – in honour of our Vietnam Director. A lovely, chunky bear weighing 172kgs, with an abnormal testicle which was three times the size of his other normal one. Needless to say, both will be coming off at the same time as the surgery to remove his gall bladder.
The bear and vet teams take a photo break with the long, lean Noodle after his check.
The first one to be checked in the afternoon was “Graham” – previously thought to be a girl with a beautiful feminine face, who turned out to be a boy with a beautiful feminine face! A nicely padded boy at 115.5kgs who was soaking wet and dirty after lying in the wet container. Prioritised for a health-check as he was so anxious and stereotypic – especially in front of people – he recognised the jab stick and violently huffed in anticipation of something awful he thought would happen.
Jill joins the vet team for the second day of health-checks.
To everybody’s surprise, this “pretty” bear turned out to be a boy, now named Graham!
The bear after this to be anaesthetised we called “Anne” – a gorgeous girl with shiny black hair, nice big ruffs around her neck, a pale lemon crescent, and weighing 134.5kgs. She has an egg-sized lump in her abdomen which Kirsty thinks is “external” rather than anything ominous within, such as a tumour. As with Peggy's lump, this could be related to perpetual stabbing with an unsterile needle as someone searched for her gallbladder on the farm.
Our next patient was described as a grumpy old bear – who is now called "John". Unfortunately, poor John is blind, and missing his front right paw from being caught in a snare. He weighs 159kgs and has a nice spotty waxing moon crescent. He was not in the best of shape, with compromised teeth, thick with tartar and a broken upper left canine with pulp exposure, and a wet and dirty body which needed a good rub down with a nice clean towel. At the end of the health check, with a green tag in his ear, John was gently woken up and we’re optimistic that his temper will improve away from the cold wet floor of his previous home, as he now snoozes on straw.
And last but not least, bear number seven for the day, “Trouble” – weighing 122.5kgs. Poor Trouble has a strange “elf-like” ear which looks suspiciously as though it's been cut to a point. Her tongue is also about 50% shorter than it should be – making us wonder things that we shouldn't about her life on the farm.
As we packed everything up for the day, Anne was taking her time waking up as she lay there with her tongue hanging out, gently snoozing and refusing to stir. Poor Noodle was already eager to eat but having trouble with his obviously sensitive mouth and his tongue doing strange "gymnastics" as he tried to manipulate it around the food.