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Our two new family members in Chengdu!


Talk about being late for the party... but fabulous to arrive on site in Chengdu on Friday and come face to face with our two newly rescued moon bears settling nicely into their new home. There they were — bear numbers S278 and S279, sitting cosily on straw in their recovery cages, food bowls laden with fresh fruit and veg, and peering out cautiously at their new family.

We had been advised that they were just under two years of age and both look in pretty good condition, with nice healthy bodies, black shiny fur, and each weighing perhaps somewhere between 70-80kgs.

Thanks to the Sichuan Forestry Department and to our External Affairs Director Toby for the organisation and planning, both bears had come four hours by road, and had been confiscated from rural farmers who had found them as cubs in Yibin county nearly two years ago. Apparently it had taken some time to persuade the farmers to give up the bears, and we also heard rumours that bear bile farmers had wanted to buy them too.

While we normally offer compensation for previously farmed bears, Sichuan Forestry decided that no compensation would be given in this case, as the bears had originally been taken from the mountains in the wild.

Nic, our Vet and Bear Team Director, advised that the rescue went super-smoothly, and the bears are doing well, with both becoming nicely accustomed to melon and strawberry sauce.

A huge thank you to everyone involved - notably those on the ground, Nic, Boris, Lucky, Richard and their teams, Monica, Jo, Wendy, Vicki, Sofie and Heidi and the rescue team including: 甄金川 Zhen Jinchuan, 徐开川 Xu Kaichuan, 李凡 Li Fan,

李飞 Li Fei, 吴利达 Wu Lida, 地兵尔色 Dibing Erse, 薛志成 Xue Zhicheng,

王善海 Howard, 艾朝军 Ai Chaojun and 石学良 Rocky.

Grateful thanks too to Star 杨梦椒, Susan Zhang 张玉姝, Xin 培鑫 from our Animal Welfare Department and our intern Haiyan 谭海燕, who worked so hard in taking the pictures and film for live broadcasts for Weibo.

Stop press Wednesday 12th December — both bears are settling in well — loving special treats such as ice blocks and bamboo toys, and making bear-sized nests in their recovery cages with mounds of sweet smelling straw and browse. Nic, Tao, Xiao Yong and I have just enjoyed watching them tucking into today's enrichment, slowly realising that things are pretty good here in their new and forever home.

Naturally, as they have arrived in time for Christmas, and with much discussion to and fro, their nicknames are reflecting the festive season.

Please join me in congratulating team Chengdu once again, and a very warm welcome to the Animals Asia family............ to Rudolph and Holly.


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