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).
Volunteer testimonials What our volunteers say about their Animals Asia experience!
Anne Letham-White Dunedin, New Zealand
I worked as a Behaviour and Management volunteer at the Chengdu sanctuary from October 2007 to
January 2008. I was initially very nervous about flying off into the wild
blue (or grey) yonder leaving my lovely husband and family of dogs behind in
New Zealand and getting on that plane to Shanghai was one of the hardest
things I have ever done.
My fears were groundless, although it took some adjusting to China, Jill and
her team at the sanctuary were so friendly and welcoming and I have huge
respect for every one of them and the work they do. Living on the sanctuary
grounds among so many bears was just amazing, something I will never forget.
The work was hard yakka! Walking local dogs who otherwise did not get a
walk, making medicated shakes for the bears, doing 'obs' on the bears... I
feel very privileged to say I have been involved and made a contribution in
some small way to the work of Animals Asia in China. And the best part of
all? I came home with a new family member... after ten months in quarantine
in Hong Kong we now have a new family member, one of the local dogs Xiao Hua.
Jessica Klieman California, USA
Volunteering for Animals Asia in Chengdu the fall of 2008 was one of the most unique, rewarding experiences I have ever had. As a Behaviour and Management volunteer my days were always busy helping with husbandry for bears in the hospital, making behavioral observations, helping with enrichment, etc. The staff there was very patient and took the time to teach the volunteers thoroughly and answered my many questions. I always felt very welcome and taken care of.
Going to China was my first big trip abroad from the US and it was such an eye-opening experience to take in the culture, meet other volunteers and workers, and be able to give back to the moon bears. I will always look back on my memories of Animals Asia and my time in China fondly, it was a truly life changing journey for me. All the hard work was worth it for all the great memories.
Lucy Burrows United Kingdom
I will never forget my time as a Vet Nurse volunteer at the Chengdu rescue centre, as it was quite simply the best experience of my life. Admittedly I was nervous about spending three months away from my family and friends especially being an insulin-dependant diabetic, but as soon as I arrived at the centre and met both the staff and the bears, any worries I may have had disappeared.
One job as a volunteer (or "Vollie" as we are affectionately known as) is to walk the local street dogs, who, without Animals Asia, would spend every hour of every day tied to a tree with no cuddles, love or enrichment. Never in my life have I met a group of dogs so happy to see a Veterinary Nurse with a rope lead!
Then of course, there are the beautiful Moon Bears who quite simply take your breath away just by being themselves. Getting to nurse a bear who has been through the most harrowing times - worse than we could ever imagine. Getting to give them fruity, tasty shakes for breakfast and supper containing medication that eases the last reminders of years of torture and pain. Waking up every morning to see them playing and relaxing out in the sunshine for the rest of their days.
I would go back in a heart beat. Animals Asia is full of amazing individuals that commit themselves to improving the lives of animals all over Asia and I got to spend a short time helping them achieve this amazing goal - priceless!!
Rachael Arnold United Kingdom
My time at the Chengdu rescue centre as a Behaviour and Management volunteer is one that will I will carry with me always. Firstly, to have had the opportunity to volunteer and work alongside a group of people as amazing and as dedicated as those at Animals Asia is an eye opener within itself, but to have had the chance of giving something back to those which have endured so much pain and suffering (which we cannot even begin to understand) is a prospect I could only have ever imagined and one which I am thoroughly grateful to have been given.
My days were fun packed to say the least and filled with dog walks and enclosure enrichment. From shake-making in the mornings and carrying out daily observations it is only fair to say each and every one of these bears is truly remarkable. Seeing the excited expressions on their faces when taking their shakes or watching them bound out of their dens and immerse themselves in their morning enrichment is a sight worth witnessing and one that will always make me smile.
You can’t help but fall in love with the bears and feel inspired, simply watching them run around playfully, splash about and interact with one another is enough to make you want to go back again and again. I would volunteer at the centre again in an instant, the people at Animals Asia are truly fantastic and just to hear the bears contentedly clucking away again would be wonderful.