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).
Survivors from the February 2009 rescue settle into their new homes
November 19: Some of the rescued bears who arrived in February this year, had access to the outdoor enclosures for the first time last week. The group of four females had been integrated over the last couple of weeks and, although it wasn't love at first sight, things improved with each passing day and they soon began to get along better. Which meant of course, that the time had come to move them that final step to the freedom of the outside area.
Bear Manager, Annemarie, describes the girls' first big adventure:
“Diamond, Vicky, Jakira and Johanna were all fed inside their dens first and after they had finished, the slides to the enclosure were opened. Jakira was the first one to venture out but, surprised by the fence, ran back inside very quickly and didn’t come out again for the rest of the day.
Vicky, Jakira and Johanna felt more secure in their spacious den.
Diamond was next and she wandered straight to the middle of the enclosure, happily playing with some bamboo and rolling around on the grass for the first time. Johanna and Vicky were not brave enough to walk on the grass at first, and hovered around on the concrete border. Hopefully they will soon discover there is a lot of good stuff to get out there in the grass.”
The entire Bear Team have been working hard during the long months of rehabilitation, with a singular aim – to restore the bears to a physical and emotional comfort level so that they can be settled into groups that suit their individual needs. While the ladies are still getting used to their new environment, some of the others bears from February are already finding their way in other areas of the sanctuary.
Bear Manager Charlie sent this update on a couple of very special boys: "Dick and the very handsome Dong Fang are now both fully integrated with eight other bears in House 10. Both being young, big and boisterous males they love nothing more than wrestling the days away with their new friends. In fact, most of their initial greetings to the House 10 bears involved the new boys walking right up and leaping onto their backs for a wrestle!"
And from Senior Bear Manager Nic: "Bill is now fully integrated with the House 8 group. He goes out every day and has a very full and happy life despite being blind. He shares his home with 16 other bears, 40 % of which are blind or partially-sighted. He has been a lovely, steady bear throughout his rehabilitation and has made some great friends including Wilfred, from the March 2008 rescue, who is also blind. His best friend however, is the three-legged Kevin and these two spend many playful hours together."
Assisi has recently taken up residence in Rupert’s Secret Garden, where the pace of life is slower and more relaxed for a bear with heart troubles, than in one of the bigger, more boisterous enclosures. He continues to be monitored closely and is doing very well.
Bamse strolls around his enclosure, free at last to come and go as he pleases.
And finally, Bamse – the last of the survivors from February – has his own space in what we call the ‘Chicken Run’, a cosy, “private suite” at one end of the rehabilitation area. He is next door to the females and very relaxed, while he prepares to move in with his new housemates very soon.
Dick enjoys his hanging basket bed in House 10 when he's not outside making mischief!
Dong Fang gets a work out with Paddy, his new and enthusiastic sparring partner.
Unfazed by blindness, Bill loves his environment, full of glorious new smells.
Restored to health, Bill and his best buddy Kevin spend hours playing together.
Now safe in the "Secret Garden", Assisi has a new lease on life.