Christmas in Nanning

In Nanning, our fabulous team continues to work on site at the bear farm, while we move closer towards bringing all the bears home to our sanctuary in Chengdu in 2016.

I'm turning this part of the blog over to our China Bear and Vet Team Director, Nicola Field, who flew over again to Nanning this week to work with the team and check all is well for the next couple of weeks over the festive season.

Nic had a very special suitcase with her – chock full of mince pies, bought by our UK Ambassador, actress Lesley Nicol, to give each bear a treat, and perhaps an extra one for Lesley’s own very special bear, Pickle Nicol.

The cages that once confined these bears are all now permanently open to the small outside dens – and they now come fearlessly and willingly back into the cages to enjoy their food or daily treats.

Over to Nic for a quick summary of what Christmas this year meant to six much healthier and happier bears, as a small sample of how all of the 124 bears onsite are doing:

"Smudge – just a small cub when we embarked on the Nanning project, our girl has grown into a magnificent young lady. Gone are the days when we would enter her yard to feed and play with us. This year Smudge has learned how to be a bear – having been integrated with Jie Jie (Big Sister), she now has the opportunity to wrestle and play, enjoying much needed social interaction with one of her own. Last year when she got her Christmas mince pie, she was very curious and careful, this year was a completely different story – Smudge couldn’t gulp it down fast enough.


Pickle Nicol is a beautiful, patient adult. She is a bear of focus, being one of our priority bears to move back to Chengdu. A curious female who loves her enrichment toys and banana leaves but also loves to keep a watchful eye on all that goes on in her shed. Christmas this year for Pickle Nicol is all about hope…hope that she will be embarking on her new life in Chengdu in early 2016.

picol1  picol 2

Charlotte Sometimes is a spirited individual who is also monitored closely by the team. She enjoys all the enrichment that comes her way, be it ice blocks, log treats, bamboo feeders or her pool… and a Christmas mince pie was no exception. As the temperature finally starts to drop in Nanning, Charlotte Sometimes is slowing down with the belief from all who care for her, that when it is time to stir from her winter dormancy she will awake to a bright new future in Chengdu.

charlotte sometimes 2

charlotte sometimes

Teresa is a short, squat, beautiful individual with the characteristics I can imagine will equip her with all the necessary attributes to hold her own in a new group of bears in 2016. Having recently had her overgrown claw trimmed she is taking things in her stride this Christmas and looking forward to more spoiling from the team.



Florence is like a cherished grandmother at Nanning. An older female who we are able to medicate for cardiac disease, Florence does everything with care and gentleness. Receiving her mince pie from Assistant Bear Manager Ai this year was no exception for this wise old lady. She gently took it from Ai, placing the pie on the back of her paw where she proceeded to nibble it away to the last morsel.


Derek has grown as an individual and has definitely learned the kindness of our team. Only last Christmas, he was very wary about receiving a mince pie but this year it was down in one. This guy is wiser and more curious than the bear he was when we first met him. Christmas for him is an opportunity for us to reflect on how far he has come and what comes next.


As always, a huge thank you to our fabulous team in Nanning that includes local resident staff and members of our Chengdu staff.

team 1

Always on standby to give these bears the best of care having already changed their lives for good – providing them with sanctuary where once they lived in fear – and all looking forward to moving the bears on to their next stage of freedom in Chengdu.

group 2