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).
On 8 and 9 June 2010 the staff of Chengdu Zoo attended a two day ‘Captive Bear Enrichment Workshop’ at the China Bear Rescue Centre.
Chengdu Zoo exhibits a number of bears including a Sun Bear, Asiatic Black Bears, Tibetan Brown Bears and a lone Polar Bear. All bears are housed in concrete pit-style enclosures with little or no enrichment facilities other than a shallow pool. The bears beg for food and members of the public are free to throw items into their enclosures. The bears show signs of stereotypic behaviour.
Sun Bear Enclosure at Chengdu Zoo.
Brown Bear begging for food at Chengdu Zoo.
Animals Asia has a wealth of knowledge, expertise and skills with regard to managing bears in captivity to meet their physical and behavioural needs.
Following a visit by David Neale, Animal Welfare Director, to the zoo in January 2010 the Animals Asia team decided to offer help and support to the zoo through a training workshop.
The workshop was designed to allow the Animals Asia bear management team to pass on their skills, knowledge and expertise to the animal management staff of Chengdu Zoo and help to improve the lives of the bears and other animals at the zoo.
Following a meeting with the zoo director in March 2010, the invitation to join the workshop was accepted and over 30 staff attended.
The workshop was led by Animals Asia’s bear team managers and supervisors, providing presentations on the basic physical and behavioural needs of animals in captivity, the principles and definitions of environmental enrichment, and a discussion on enclosure design, potential improvements, and the wild behaviours of bears, big cats and primates.
Following the initial presentations and discussion the Animals Asia team involved the participants in a series of practical activities, making their own enrichment items such as log and bamboo treats, and the construction of enrichment structures and fire hose hammocks.
Bear Team Supervisor Rocky presenting to Chengdu Zoo staff.
Bear Team Supervisor Ai demonstrates the making of log treats for the bears.
Chengdu Zoo staff with the log treats they have made stuffed with tasty treats for the bears
Bear Team Supervisor Howard and Kitchen Team Leader Weng Feng Jun demonstrate the making of ice blocks and other treats for the bears.
Bear Hort Team 2IC – Zheng Jin Chuan demonstrates the construction of fire hose hammocks.