Bao Be has a special visitor

While I was in Vietnam recently with our gorgeous bears (and team!) in the beautiful Tam Dao sanctuary just outside Hanoi, our amazing celebrity supporter Karen Mok was in Chengdu with our bears, dogs and cats!

As Rainbow, our PR Manager explained, “Karen was absolutely mesmerised by “her” bear, Bao Be, and ran straight over to meet him as soon as she got in. As Howard, our Bear Team Supervisor, prepared Bao Be's favourite treat of chopped apple and honey, Karen exclaimed in surprise at how healthy he looked. “He was a skeleton when he first arrived, but now he looks so healthy and gorgeous!”

As Howard told Karen, the names of Bao Be's best friends, Karen immediately asked if Bao Bei had a girlfriend and laughed when Howard said that her bear only had time for his mates.

Her time with Bao Bei was obviously full of fun, but Karen’s laughter quickly disappeared when Rainbow took her over to see our newly rescued bears in quarantine and told her their story. She was visibly moved on hearing about “Shui” (Water) who had been gently euthanised soon after arrival because of heart and liver failure, but she was comforted to see the care and attention the other bears were receiving and shared our prayers that all would survive.

To cheer her up, Rainbow then took Karen over to see our new brown bear enclosure. After gushing to her about Caesar and how she loved her new home (see previous blog), Caesar decided to embarrass Rainbow by doing..............nothing. She slept there, “still as a sphinx”, until poor Rainbow admitted defeat and took Karen next-door to see Benji and Poupouce – our glorious Tibetan brown bears.

As Rainbow said, “After a short period of shyness encountering such a big crowd of onlookers, these two fluffy balls began rolling around the entire enclosure, impressing Karen and the media people from Hong Kong and Chengdu.” As Karen kept taking pictures, she was heard to say in delight. “They are really so special, and so cute!”

And then it was on to our beautiful statue of majestic bear Andrew, where Rainbow had organised a press conference with eight local media reporters.

Karen called on everyone not to use bear bile, and added in answer to a question, “When I gain enough experience in film-making, I will make a documentary about black bears so that more people can understand their plight and become part of the support.”

At the end of the day, our vet Faithe and nurse Caroline were ready with rescue dogs, Kaiya and Matilda (pictured below)and rescue earthquake dog Tremor for another perfect photo opportunity to help China's four-legged best friends.

Karen loves dogs – and loves mixed-breed dogs even more. She couldn’t resist holding them in her arms. These pictures are priceless for us as we deliver the message to everyone that dogs are our friends, not food. Here she is with lovely Tremor:

As Rainbow said at the time, “Karen was just so patient and kind”, and I want to add that we are so, so lucky to have her on side. She is intelligent, articulate and thoroughly devoted to the cause of animal welfare and will influence the younger generation of China to look at bears, dogs and cats with the respect they deserve.

And the final word too from Rainbow – thinking, as ever, of another PR

“PS: She kept our jacket and wore it to the airport.” :-D

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