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).
Benji & Poupouce in their stark pit before their rescue.
AAF Team at the face of the pit plan logistics of rescue.
Animals Asia’s focus is rescuing farmed bears. However, in many parts of Asia (including China and Vietnam) it is not unusual to come upon “displaced” bears – lonely bears in unsuitable environments that are running the risk of ending up in a bear farm. With this in mind, AAF recently rescued 3 bears….. Benji, Poupouce and Mimi, who are now safe and sound at the Rescue Centre – these are their stories:
Benji and Poupouce
High in the mountains in Sichuan Province on the Tibetan border, two brown bears were discovered in a pit in a monastery in Litang, by two Chengdu University students who had been holidaying in the area. The bears were being looked after by a group of caring Tibetan monks who had apparently taken them in after hearing that they were destined for a bear farm in the surrounding area. However, after allowing the bears to roam freely in the garden area of the Monastery for three years, the monks became increasingly worried by the bears rapid growth and unpredictable characters and were finally forced to house them in a small, square pit for the protection of the resident monks and visitors alike. Although the monks were treating them kindly, the two bears needs of nourishing food and daily management presented a growing challenge and they had begun to grow thin and stereotypic in their small and barren enclosure.
The two students, noticing the bears' unnatural behaviour, contacted us on their return to Chengdu. Luckily for the bears, the monks were also concerned that the bears were now in need of professional care, and were more than happy to pass them over to Animals Asia for integration with our other bears at the Centre.
The Animals Asia vet team made the 23 hour journey to Litang, where the bears were expertly anaesthetised by resident veterinarian, Dr. Kati Loeffler. Each bear underwent a full health check before being loaded into transport cages by the Animals Asia team, for the long drive home.
Benji and Poupouce who have also been given the Chinese names of Pei Pei (circle of jade usually worn by royalty), and Ai Xin (kind heart), are now safe and sound in the Rescue Centre and receiving masses of tender loving care. They will soon be released into spacious, grassy enclosures complete with trees, swimming pools and climbing frames. A daily changing calendar of challenging, enriching programmes will also keep these intelligent youngsters busy and happy for the rest of their lives.
Mimi is a Moon Bear who was born in 2001. Confiscated as a cub from a market she had been living a lonely life in a barren facility at Tangjiahe Nature Reserve, Sichuan Province.
The Animals Asia vet team made the long journey to Tangjiahe, darted her and conducted a full health check. After placing her in a roomy transport cage she underwent the long journey home to the Rescue Centre without incident. She will be integrated with other bears in a spacious grassy enclosure as soon as she has completed her period of quarantine.
She has a very sweet nature and a small, sweet face with a lovely coat and is settling in well - relishing the bowls of chopped fresh fruit that are lavished upon her!
Lifting Benji out of pit.
Fascinated villagers gather round Benji's health check.
Sweet Mimi in her barren enclosure before her rescue.