Peace by Piece: Sanctuary transformation underway

09 May 2014

Checking bear teeth (1)

Peace by Piece, Animals Asia’s transformation of the Nanning Flower World bear bile farm into the Nanning Bear Rescue Centre, began this week as the first changes to the bears’ lives were implemented.

Teams from both Nanning and Chengdu worked together to draw up initial bear husbandry guidelines that were implemented at the start of the week. While these interim changes will see instant improvements in the bears’ daily lives, they will in turn be replaced in the coming weeks by more comprehensive protocols and procedures once a dedicated Bear Team is resident in Nanning.                     

This week also saw a new feeding regime established. Changes saw bears given a balanced diet of fresh fruit, vegetables and dog biscuits. A key part of dietary changes involved basic modifications made to cages to ensure that all bears can receive their food in a safe, balanced way and have ready access to water.

An important aspect of bear care implemented this week was the introduction of a record system and bear monitoring. This behind the scenes work informs much of the more glamorous aspects of sanctuary management such as health checks, dietary changes, integration and enrichment programmes. 

Animals Asia's Bear and Vet Team Director China, Nicola Field said:

“Basically at this stage the team are addressing the basic fundamentals of bear care which will make the world of difference to these bears while we wait for permits to get the 28 sickest bears back to Chengdu for the health care they require.”

“The team on the ground are overjoyed to see the first changes take place. The bears have just received their first proper feed and are all happily chomping through an array of vegetables, fruit and dog food. Qin, our bear worker at Nanning, has been super helpful, pulling out all the stops to get a supply of food for the bears, and generally support our team. The NBRC bears have just experienced the best day of their lives and they can only get better.”

Heidi Quine, Animals Asia’s Senior Bear Manager at Nanning said:

"The bears truly relished their feast - it reduced me to tears several times. I watched one young bear, perhaps a year old, sitting up on her haunches and carefully holding a tomato in her tiny paws while peeling the skin so she could eat the juicy fruit beneath. She had a spray of tomato seeds dotting her forehead and was completely oblivious to me standing there captivated by her joy in something so simple as a tomato - something that should all along have been hers."

Tomato cub (1)

Tomato cub (5)