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).
Spring has finally arrived for our rescued bears in Chengdu: it’s a time of waking out of their semi-hibernation slumber, shaking off the cobwebs and preparing for a summer of fun. Juvenile bears, like “Sunshine”, who were still cubs last year, have integrated well with the big boys and girls and now play-wrestle for hours at a time, before crashing in an exhausted heap in the grass; whilst elderly “Franzi” and her brain damaged boyfriend “Rupert”, are often preferring to stay outside in the warmer, lighter evenings, before snuggling down together under the stars.
However, at times like this we never forget the bears they left behind...... construction continues at a feverish pace to build more dens and enclosures to welcome in more victims of bile extraction. Another small farm was closed before Christmas, with 4 new tortured, wasted bears arriving at our door. Blind “Mityan”, petrified “Stardust”, doe-eyed “Claudia” and handsome “Mandela” - all wracked with pain and fear, all desperate for their torture to end. Today, with their life-saving surgeries complete, the new bears are recovering well and showing the quiet trust of animals who know they have no more to fear.
“Mandela” was named by Dr. Dame Jane Goodall CBE who we were privileged to have on site. Jane moved everyone to tears as she kissed the nose of this sleeping bear and christened him “Mandela” in recognition of the bears’ ability to forgive after being imprisoned for years.
Jane has added her voice to a growing number of influential people around the world, calling for bear farming to end. In December Jill was honoured to speak at the UK House of Commons and in January, Dave Neale (our UK Director), Christa Filipowicz (AAF Germany) and Jill, joined Members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg to announce the passing of an official EU Declaration requesting the Chinese Government to urgently end bear farming. This prompted a high level Chinese Government press conference in Beijing, with international press coverage including CNN, Sky News, BBC, Reuters and AFP, which brought worldwide attention.
Heartfelt thanks to celebrity vet, Dr. Katrina Warren,who joined us in Chengdu for the arrival of bears. Katrina spoke of her experience in the Dec 05 issue of Australian Women’s Weekly and is also appearing in a CSA that is being aired repeatedly on TV across Australia for free- thank you! You can view the CSV online.
In China, our message is snowballing too, with the most recent presentation at a University in Yunnan Province seeing the Director, students and media all calling on the industry to close - all endorsing our slogan: “Rescue Black Bears, Give Up Bear Bile”.
With more caged bears expected very soon, we are one step closer to bringing this industry to its long overdue end.
We never forget your faith and support – and we never forget that bears like “Sunshine”, (who has come a long way since we collected him from a small apartment in Chengdu enroute to a bear farm, where he was cowering on a couch with a deep snare wound right around his stomach), are depending on all of us for their first glimpse of Spring.
Please read about exciting developments in Vietnam - with your help the Vietnam Bear Rescue will soon begin!
Jill & Dr. Dame Jane Goodall with "Mandela".
Euro MEPs, Neil Parrish, Peter Skinner & AAF staff celebrate the passing of the EU Declaration.
Jill & Dr. Katrina Warren during a health check on a new arrival.
"Sunshine", as a cub with a terrible stomach wound, was collected by AAF from a Chengdu apartment!
"Sunshine" today, enjoying his first glimpse of Spring!