Nanning Diaries takes you inside the bear farm that will become a sanctuary. The entire transition will take two years and we’ll keep you up to date every step of the way.
We are indebted to the brilliant Animals Asia bear and vet teams for continuing to share their thoughts and challenges.
"I was impressed by the area’s beauty. The rolling hills, big banyan trees, still lake and colourful flowers were like being in a fairy tale and I wondered how the bears would enjoy such a nice environment. But I was shocked when I entered the bear sheds where bears are kept in small cages, dens and enclosures. They are terribly skinny and have bad coats. With pale eyes they stare and pant, while their tongues hang out. Flies and their own waste surround them. The smell is terrible.
"Later we found out there had been no water on site since the previous night – a nightmare for the bears as temperatures had reached 30 degrees.
"Heidi (Animals Asia's Senior Bear Manager) shared her water with some bears. If I knew this would happen, I would have bought more bottles of water, but I knew it was never supposed to be enough for the bears, but at that moment every drop of water was so valuable. As we left, I offered every bear water and showered them with a hose.
"As we were travelling back, Heidi asked me how I felt about the trip. It was difficult to answer because I had so many things to say.
"I remember the bears’ eyes. Some were scared, some were horrified, some were filled with hope. For all my lovely bears and the other animals that are suffering, please hold on longer. We are doing what we can and we are getting there. Please have faith in us – in all warm-hearted people. We will change this, we will provide you a better place to live. Everyone working to end the cruelty should be proud. We have indeed made some progress. And every piece of our efforts are rewarding.
"'End cruelty, end bear farming,' let's fulfil this promise and give these animals their freedom back. Keep on fighting, colleagues, keep on fighting for all the lovely bears."