15 December 2013, 14:35PM
The past few days have seen lots of Christmas activity and merriment at our bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam. With every bear enjoying their annual treat of a sweet and sticky mince pie, together with fancy wrapped boxes full of nuts, seeds and fruit, this annual ursine smorgasbord is something that both our bears and staff look forward to each year!
In Chengdu, China, we beamed from ear to ear as the bell rang and our old timer Oliver shuffled out in to his enclosure to launch himself (as only he could) on to the treats. While his stiff 33-year-old body might be slow, it certainly wasn't lacking in spirit as he made short work of the wrapping and got to grips with munching the contents inside.
Over to the Special Care Area and River House where two more oldies, Blue and Chu Chu, were delving into their seasonal delights. Bug-eyed Blue made pretty short work of his pressies....
Chu Chu took a full two hours before finally finding his, and then settling down with all the satisfaction of a ten-year-old child on Christmas morning around the tree. Chu Chu was rescued in 1994 and I remember with affection that we used to call him the “clown" as he engaged in non-stop play for literally hours at a time. Today, this lovely old bear would be the equivalent of a 90-year-old and has lost none of his devilishly handsome looks!
Holly and Wan Cai – both rescued last December as youngsters – were zipping around like delinquent teenagers and pouncing on the pies and boxes as if they were both in a race.
Beautiful Peter Bear (who seems to be still getting used to his legs) concentrated on dunking for juicy satsumas in his paddling pool ....
... while his enclosure mate, Shamrock, hoovered everything up in her usual super-quick style.
Amazing for these bears who, together with four others, were rescued only in January of this year from their torment on the farms.
Finally, three-legged Bodo in House 5 made everyone sigh as he stood tall on his back legs but failed to grasp the beautifully wrapped box on top of the vertical log....
... while "follickly challenged" Bronwyn and her best friend Pippin skipped around the enclosure clearly relishing their seasonal treasure hunt of tasty Christmas treats.
It was such a treat to watch.
Watch the bears loving every moment of their early Christmas.
Meanwhile at our Tam Dao Rescue Centre in Vietnam, Bear Manager Sarah, describes the Christmas chaos there. Here’s a wonderful look into one of the bear houses through Sarah’s eyes:
“On a sunny but chilly day in Tam Dao as the bell rang House 2 made their usual mad dash to the enclosure, only to find that Father Christmas (or at least some of his helpers) had left some extra special treats under a special pine tree decked in papier mache baubles that also hid some sweet treats of guava and orange.
It was Jarvis and Cromwell that were first to the presents and took great joy in ripping open the boxes and knocking the baubles off the tree, mischievous and notoriously destructive bear Olly grabbed one of the biggest presents a little further away from the tree and tucked into it voraciously, licking every last bit of peanut butter off the wrapping paper!
Late comers Leika and Marmite picked through what was left of the boxes, while Jarvis took to work destroying what was left of the Christmas tree and little Mama bear tucked into some treats she found in Santa’s welly boots at a safe distance from the main ruckus.
A Merry Christmas was had by all!”
Click here for a special greeting from our Vietnam team.
With endless thanks to everyone who so generously contributed to the bears' Christmas treats this year and gave them yet another excuse to put their suffering on the farms far, far behind them. Our Jingle Bears, Dr Dogs, rescued cats and dogs, staff and volunteers around the globe send love and greetings at this special time of year. Have a Beary Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and very peaceful 2014.
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