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Heroes of the home front

The thing about volunteering is that no one likes to be left behind. As said in an earlier message, we actually had to draw straws between vets Heather and Lara, nurses Hayley, Wendy and Annemarie and bear managers Nic, Kia and Donata - as everyone wanted to be part of helping in some way, any way, with the tragedy to have affected Sichuan.

The same happened with staff in our bear teams and the hardest thing for those remaining was to wave goodbye as the coach left the sanctuary en route to Anxian. 

But those that were left behind also knew that their role over the next couple of days was no less important and fundamental to the smooth running of the sanctuary. They rose to it all by putting in extra help and care wherever they could. 

Toby our General Manager and his assistant Richard worked long hours organising evacuations and care of our staff and made calls to the River Authorities ensuring that updates came every few hours about the state of the dams. 

Our admin staff had to move out of a badly damaged building and could be seen carrying tables, chairs, computer equipment and files over to their temporary new office in the hospital. Our chef and his team prepared comfort food for when we arrived back to base late at night - and then for the days afterwards gave us additional treats because they felt everyone needed the extra care. 

Our housekeeping team wanted to go back to work - cleaning buildings deemed unsafe - until being asked (forcibly!) please don't take the risk. Our maintenance team removed dangerous roof tiles, fixed fences, checked power and water supply and donated their personal expenses. Horticulture carried away damaged trees and made sure things were as tidy as they could be.

Our Project Department spent time outside of office hours making calls to construction authorities and pouring over books in the library, researching more thoroughly on points to watch out for in broken buildings - while waiting for obviously overstretched engineers and surveyors to assess the whole sanctuary. Our security team continues checking the level of the River Pi next to the sanctuary and signing people in and out. 

Everybody has donated personally from their own pockets and continues to work professionally for the good of the bears, dogs and cats under our care.

Kind thoughts and actions like these are what being part of a team is all about and I couldn't be more proud.

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