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A beary merry festive season to you all!!!!!

A big girl at heart, I absolutely love this time of year, and no more so than when it involves the Animals Asia family and our beautiful bears.

Our fabulous staff in China and Vietnam pulled out all the stops in giving the bears a festive treat of mince pies and tangerines, and even found time to join together for a special rendition of “Jingle Bells” - naturally with the title of “Jingle Bears”.

Some of you may remember we first sang this song a couple of years ago at Christmas after six-month-old Jingle arrived with us in China in December, following what we think was her escape from a bear farm. The words were lovingly put together by Annie Ditton, Hayley Walters and Charlie Wheelhouse - and this year I've tweaked them a little to reflect all of our bears enjoying their new lives and Christmas fayre. Enjoy the link and words at the end of this blog.

Meanwhile the pics here say it all - in Vietnam the mince pies were lovingly laid out in the enclosures and thoroughly enjoyed by the bears. Little Jane (pictured here) managed to find and scoff no less than three, while others took the longest time in the world before finally realising that this new type of treat was really quite yummy.

Our 14 new arrivals in Vietnam weren't forgotten either and enjoyed their first ever festive treat after eating nothing more than leftovers or tasteless porridge during so many years on the farm.

Luckily I managed to stop Bear Manger Falk from eating the pies first!

In China, the team not only laid out mince pies and tangerines, but made paper mache gifts stuffed full of nuts and sweet treats for our special-care bears, and laid these out in the enclosures too.

As he shuffled out on to the grass, elderly Oliver quite quickly found his colourful gift and loved every single bite. Most of you will remember that he was held captive in a cage for 30 long years on a farm - and this is his second Christmas, where every day is a treat of good food and freedom.

Meanwhile, lovely old "threadbare" Asia, who is just as old and has been with us since the year 2000, took a while longer to find her treat. Asia is on a special diet for her skin, and her paper mache ball was full of hypoallergic dog food which, luckily, she absolutely loves. Halfway through enjoying her snack she even gave a big cheesy smile to the cameras as her nose turned blue from the colour of the (non-toxic) paint.

Funny old Blue pottered around for a while before finally finding and enjoying his ball - while another "squat" bear, Woodley, clambered up high before he eventually reached his very own prize of a mince pie.

Big handsome Delaney loved his tangerines - carefully peeling each one before slurping the juicy fruit inside, and beautiful Beau loved her mince pie so much, that she rolled in it!

So, with huge and grateful thanks to the whole Animals Asia team for the most amazing effort in bringing Christmas cheer and smiles to bears and people alike. Thanks to Angela and Jing Jing for putting this Blog together in the middle of the Christmas rush, and to Hong for putting the “Jingle Bear” music and film together from both China and Vietnam. This is undoubtedly the most awful rendition of the song ever recorded - but just the smile everyone needs at this time of year!

Heartfelt thanks for your generosity and support of programmes that see bears, dogs and cats with new hope and lives, and wishing you the best of everything over the holidays and a happy, healthy and very peaceful New Year.

And how could I forget? Kisses from the bears!

And last, but not least, a big festive cheer from all of the staff at our sanctuaries and in our Hong Kong and country offices to you, our dear friends and supporters.First our China and Vietnam teams:

In the US, Morgan and Alice; Jada and Julie; and Maya.

In Germany, Christine, Christa and Sunila and of course office dog Fin:

And the Hong Kong team:

And in the UK, Liz and Gill; Nicky and her best friends; Fiona and Missie; Lara and Saskia; and Sue and Storm;

And finally, Irene, Antonello and Giulia in Italy – and in Australia, Jude, Kerri and Anne, who must be feeling a little sheepish after missing the deadline for sending me their Christmas photo!

(I'm pleased to say that these three lucky sheep will live long and happy lives as part of Anne's family in her little patch of paradise in Tasmania.)

Click here to watch “Jingle Bears” , and follow the words below. If that link doesn't work, please click here.

Jingle Bears
Tiny moon bear cubs
Caged and far from home
Looking for their mum
Feeling all alone

Bears trapped in a cage
Bodies hurt and sad
Here comes the team from AAF
To make them all feel glad

Jingle bears, jingle bears
Welcome every one
Tiny cubs, or decades old
Your new life has begun

Jingle bears, jingle bears
We rescued you from harm
Brought you back to our safe place
And far away from farms

With Animals Asia
Each one a happy bear
All the friends you need
People who just care

Good food and treats you'll have
A big straw bed for you
Safe and warm, our snuggly bears
We promise you it's true

Jingle bears, jingle bears
Jingle day and night
Caring for our bears and cubs
makes our spirits bright

Jingle bears, jingle bears
Jingle all the way
Oh what fun it is to see
Our Jingle bears at play.

ENCORE - LOUD
Jingle bears, Jingle bears
Enjoy life with your friends
Jasper, Bodo, Angus, Grier
The fun just never ends, HEY

Jingle bears, Jingle bears
Our Christmas wish for you
Close the farms, free all the bears
And make our dreams come true.

CLOSE THE FARMS, FREE ALL THE BEARS,
AND MAKE OUR DREAMS COME TROOOOOOOOOOOOO.

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