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).
During the past few weeks, the China Bear Rescue has been witness to events which have been both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Just recently we released the last bear from the first group of 63 bears, and "Pooh" came round in a roomy recovery cage, blinking up at the sunlight and stretching limbs which hadn't been used in years. Now having received extensive surgery from our Veterinary Director, Dr. Gail Cochrane and Vet Nurse Beverley Elmer, she is well on her way to recovery and her first steps to freedom with the other bears. This is an exciting landmark stage in the rescue and paves the way for the release of more bears.
Sadly, our beloved Max, whose surgery was the longest (it took 7 hours to remove a 7.5 inch catheter), was gently euthanised in May, when it became clear that he was losing his battle against the spread of peritonitis. Another bear, Prince, our little cub, had broken the majority of his teeth to the gum during his time in the crush cage and is now being prepared for major dental surgery to take away his pain. "Galadriel", who arrived without a protruding catheter implant, underwent surgery after Gail felt that minor wounds on her stomach were indicating major problems inside. How right she was - to our horror, two hours into the operation, Gail extracted a 6 inch catheter which had slipped back into her abdomen and would have been responsible for significant pain - and eventual death. She was a lucky bear to have come through - but how many more Max's, Prince's or Galadriel's must we see hurting and dying until this practice is finally brought to an end.....?
In contrast to the tragedies, however, we have witnessed some wonderful sights which lift and inspire us all. Melody, Andrew and Gail, the first bears to arrive last October, are all in dens playing happily with other bears, or running on grass for the first time in their lives. Only the scars on their bodies bear witness to their previous life and it's nothing short of a miracle that they are happy, healthy and seemingly oblivious to their previous torment.
Other recently released bears, like Jasper and Luna, and BJ and Herman are still making up for lost time; and literally hug each other for hours, or play themselves into exhaustion for most of the day!
As we prepare to receive the next group of bears, we do so with great optimism in the knowledge that this campaign is going from strength to strength. Already, the Chinese government is arranging for the release of another forty bears over the next few months. Plans for the permanent sanctuary are well underway as acres of thick bamboo forest are being mapped out for the bears' new home. The atmosphere is incredible as everyone at the temporary rescue centre can see our dreams for the bears finally coming true!
Our biggest worry, as ever, is the desperate race to raise sufficient funds in order to see these plans through, - but we are determined to carry on because the fact remains that we will never give up until bear farming ends and the bears are free.
Right now, thanks to the kindness and generosity of people like you, more and more bears are being released. From the bottom of our hearts thank you for caring and thank you for bringing the sunshine into their lives.