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).
The 3-metre-high, 300-kilo statue of our beloved “Andrew” now stands at our Chengdu rescue centre as a monument to Andrew’s majestic spirit and gentle, forgiving nature.
The stunning work, which was donated to Animals Asia by renowned Shanghai sculptor Tsao Zhi Rong, was unveiled by our biggest benefactor, Hong Kong businessman Frank Pong. It was a proud moment for all of us --the 140 local and six international staff, Government officials and other VIPs who gathered to watch the unveiling – many of the workers had helped nurse Andrew back to health when he arrived at the rescue centre in a pitiful state in 2000.
Tsao, who is known throughout China for his monuments to Chairman Mao, sculpted three-legged Andrew as a labour of love. “All who live on this planet form one big family,” he said at the opening. “It is up to us to love and care for the animals that share it with us.” Tsao first sculpted a mini-version of the statue, which will be kept at our headquarters in Hong Kong.
Before the official unveiling, I had the pleasure of taking Frank Pong and his wife Alexia on a tour of the sanctuary. Clearly impressed, Frank said that his US$1 million, which had allowed the rescue to start back in 2000, had been “money well spent”. Frank’s only request when he donated this incredibly generous gift was that the first bear rescued be named Andrew after his grandson.
Andrew (also known as “Anderloo” to many of the workers on site) died in February 2006 from liver cancer relating to his brutal incarceration on a farm. Now his calm and noble spirit will live on at the sanctuary. The sculpture has not only captured Andrew’s physical likeness, but also his soul.
Andrew was the most generous, forgiving bear, a gentle giant; he looked out for the younger bears and was always there to encourage the distressed new arrivals. He was like a favourite uncle to all the other bears and so handsome that we called him the Brad Pitt of the bear world.
Andrew was a tower of strength to all of us involved in the Moon Bear Rescue, so it’s really fitting that this beautiful statue of him will be looking over the sanctuary for decades to come.
Other guests included our staunch supporter Zhou Ping a deputy to the National Peoples Congress (NPC), who earlier this year put a proposal to the NPC to ban bear bile farming. Her commitment to the cause is unflinching despite the many obstacles she faces.
Also at the unveiling was Qiongma, another of our treasured supporters. It was through her friendship with Tsao that he came to know about the Moon Bear sanctuary and was inspired to immortalise Andrew as a symbol of the rescue.
We presented each of the special guests with a beautiful plaque bearing an impression of Andrew – also generously sculpted by Tsao.
We would like to thank Jehnny and Frankle Widjaja for kindly covering the cost of all the materials and transportation costs to Chengdu from Shanghai, where the statue was sculpted.
Let’s never forget the words inscribed on Andrew’s monument: “We are not weaker without you but stronger because of you.”
Frank Pong, Andrew's adopter and AAF's biggest benefactor, speaks at the unveiling.
Andrew in all his glory – 3 metres high and 300 kilos – now watches over the sanctuary.
Jill thanks Tsao Zhi Rong, the sculptor of magnificent Andrew.
Frank Pong, Qiongma and Tsao hold their Andrew plaques.
Staff and guests pose with our majestic Andrew after the unveiling.