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).
Jill comforts 2 baby bears - Mum is in the cage next door
Christmas came early for five more pitiful farmed bears who recently arrived at our doorstep and it was all we could do not to break down and cry, as we saw two tiny cubs bawling for their mother, who was calling for them frantically in return. Torn from their mother at three months of age, they were caged, terrified and horribly confused.
Everyone on site moved heaven and earth to create a fast track reunion between this very special family. Even though Mum still needs major surgery to repair the damage caused by the horrific "free-drip" method of bile extraction which she had suffered on the farm, she was well enough for now to be reunited with her babies - who stretched tiny arms through the bars of the cage, desperately wanting to feel her soft, warm body next to theirs.
After one long night where we had separated them into adjacent dens - just to be sure that Mum would accept them back - the moment of truth arrived, and the dividing doors were opened. We needn't have worried..... the moment was beautiful, as Mum and babies rubbed noses before exploring a world filled with food and toys they had never experienced before. Gleefully plunging their tiny bodies into their water bowls, tummies bulging with fresh fruit and honey, the two cubs seemed intent on putting their past behind, whilst Mum carefully checked every nook and cranny of their new home - reassuring herself with cautious "popping" vocalisations that all was safe and sound. That evening, under a beautiful full moon, a family previously ripped apart were now reunited, as Mum lovingly held her two sleeping babies for the first night of their new life together.
At the height of all this excitement, our wonderful bear workers reported that Erl in Den 2 was eating only when in his basket bed, and not coming down for food as he normally would in the past. The workers instincts caused alarm bells to ring. Following the examination and ultrasound under anaesthetic, it was a terrible shock for everyone to hear that Erl had a seriously abnormal liver - and would never recover.
As he was gently put to sleep, the whole surgery room was filled with Chinese and western bear lovers who cried unashamedly at the death of our friend. A beautiful bear who had been with us for nearly five years he was adored by everyone. More tears were shed at his deeply moving funeral - not only for him, but in sad recollection that there are so many out there on the farms relying on us to set them free. This is our promise to them in a poem written by our former Bear Manager, Tim, called "Spirit of Hope" which is read at every single burial. Part of it reads: "You've left this world no longer a number, a letter, or a bear just the same, For you will always be remembered as a bear with a name. You are Erl. Please look upon the others and give them promise of hope soon. And tell them to be patient and proudly wear the moon."
With thoughts of Erl still lingering in our hearts, we walked around to the nursery den to see the cubs at the beginning of a new circle of life - taking comfort at their sheer joy of being alive, and knowing that they were probably the first farmed bears to be guaranteed the full term love of their mother and a life free of torture
The end of the week ended on a high note and saw the most fantastic concert in Chengdu starring the "Madonna of Asia" Karen Mok Man Wai who thrilled and entertained thousands of young Chinese people in the audience. Invited to join her Mum, Eleanor, I couldn't have been more proud when Karen did something very special for the animals. Stepping out onto the stage in a dress made of human hair, she announced to the audience that this was the only hair which humankind should wear and that fur is only beautiful on it's original owner. She spoke of her passion for animals and how everyone should love and respect them - and then sang a haunting Chinese song with video of our beautiful bears playing on huge screens behind her on the stage. An unforgettable night and an unforgettable message for the audience to take home.
In addition, we have recently completed a brand new CSV (Community Service Video) with Karen, in which she implores viewers to “Stop Using Bear Bile, Support the Moon Bear Rescue”. The CSV is playing widely across Asia, free of charge on Animal Planet and has also played on local TV stations in Sichuan Province to a fantastic response. You can view the English version of the CSV online.
With 194 farmed bears rescued so far and more tortured victims expected to arrive at our door soon, we have you to thank for supporting this groundbreaking rescue, transforming the lives of bears like Quantock, and bringing us ever closer to our promise of ending this horrific practice once and for all.
Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year to everyone, Bear hugs, Jill
Nervous about moving to their new den - are we there yet?
So relieved to be close to Mum again
The family reunited!!
Saying goodbye to "Erl"
Poor "Quantock" on arrival
"Quantock" today! Not too handsome, but fit and free!