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).
They came, they saw, they raised $50,000 for the bears!
In November 2009, 14 Animals Asia supporters showed their commitment to the cause by banding together and raising over $50,000 for the Moon Bear Rescue! How? By experiencing a 12-day trip of a lifetime, which included a challenging six-day trek across the breathtaking countryside of Vietnam and the chance to meet a group of rather magnificent moon bears.
The trek took in some spectacular scenery – terraced rice fields, bamboo forests and rustic villages – and included three overnight stays with local families. Of course no trip to Vietnam would be complete without a night time cruise in Ha Long Bay and a tour of the beautiful city of Hanoi, but the real highlight was not one, but two, visits to the Moon Bear Rescue Centre and during the second visit the group had a very special guide to show them around – Jill Robinson herself!
For most, it was the experience of a lifetime and a chance to step beyond their comfort zone. The first challenge was raising the money to participate and then to complete the trek, which in some parts took them along the road less travelled by mainstream tourists.
With the support of the professional team at Inspired Adventures who arranged the trip, all of the trekkers reached their fundraising targets and many even went beyond them! A fundraising plan and comprehensive fundraising guide full of ideas and case studies from previous participants ensured everyone was well prepared before they embarked on their mission of raising $6,000 each. Inspired Adventures even coached people along the way to ensure those who needed a little help got it and didn’t miss out on the big adventure!
Following the success of the Vietnam Challenge, Animals Asia and Inspired Adventures are now offering a trip to China in September 2010, which of course includes time with our lovely rescued bears in Chengdu.
Click here to download an information pack and if you have any questions about charity challenges and how they work, the answers to all your questions can be found on the Inspired Adventures website – www.inspiredadventures.com.au What have you got to lose?
What some of our Vietnam trekkers had to say:
“Seeing the rescued moon and sun bears and the passion of all the staff reinforced the wonderful work that Animals Asia is doing … was the best part of the trip.” – Angela Willemsen
“I’m so pleased I did the trek. I feel it’s been rewarding on a personal level as well as helping raise funds for the moon bears and also awareness of their unnecessary suffering.” – Cathy Lee
Hot on the heels of our UK trekkers to Vietnam, came our friends from Oz! Their trip involved several hours on site at our sanctuary in Tam Dao National Park before beginning the trek which would see them heading out of their comfort zone and experiencing the "real" Vietnam.
I was at the sanctuary in Tam Dao when they returned – exhausted but absolutely glowing with excitement that they'd overcome every difficult challenge and had helped the bears with each and every step. It was wonderful to hear the stories of their vivid journey, which challenged both body and mind, while sharing the lives and homes of local Vietnamese villagers along the way.
Then it was off to the see the bears in their dens one last time and enjoy the antics of the cublets (Taurus, Angus and Maggie), and the incredible progress of one of our latest bear arrivals - Yen Bai. Although he wasn't yet integrated with the bears next door - there was no doubt that he couldn't wait for this to happen and all the signs of putting paws and noses through the bars were positive and fun to see.
No-one would have guessed the bleakness and boredom of his previous life as he tore around the den shredding his browse, standing on still-wobbly back legs and destroying his toys, showing his audience how their faith and funding has helped him on his way.
As he plunged his bottom into the large water bowl meant for drinking and sat blissfully in the water like a child in a paddling pool it was the perfect way of saying a grateful thank you and fond farewell to our friends from Oz.”
Please see here for a report on the trek and some great photos that just might inspire you to join one of our future treks - the next one being organised by our Australian team is to Chengdu and includes hiking through some amazingly beautiful surrounding countryside. And of course a visit to our bears!