New lives for elephants and bears in need: Thank you Olsen Animal Trust

A bear relaxes on the hammock in China Bear Rescue Centre

Long-term supporters, the Olsen Animal Trust visited the projects where their support has made all the difference in the world.

How thrilled were we all in the team of Animals Asia to host our good friends and generous supporters, "the Olsens", when they came as a family to view our projects in China and Vietnam.

Sue, Jon, Dave, Jeffrey and Nicola Jayne arrived in Chengdu towards the end of March and allowed us to show off the bears they have been so generously helping over these past few years. 

Due diligence is a phrase we have often used, and it was good to be able to open up the sanctuary and our work fully while they were here – and satisfy them all that our strategy and overall management of the bears was on track.

Weston enjoys the great outdoors in his enclosure

Similarly in Vietnam, just a few days later, when we hosted them on site at our bear rescue centre in Tam Dao National Park. Showing them our recently built double bear house which they generously helped to fund, our conversations focused on the exciting development of collaboration with the Vietnam government, and the promise we share of ending bear bile farming, country-wide, by 2022

Progress such as this requires sustained and consistent help and the Olsens have been right there at the forefront, keeping us keeping on.

On to our elephant project in Dak Lak and forging ahead with ending tourist rides, while showing off the naturalistic enclosure and wild area for these mega-fauna mammals, to allow them to wander freely at will in the forest.

Gold the elephant at ECC

Not surprisingly, working in this neck of the woods has its ups and downs, and there are often extreme sensitivities to overcome.  Sue, Jon and Dave so completely understand this and the challenges under which we work, and were nothing but understanding as we detailed hurdles, introduced opportunities and ensured that they left with a fully rounded picture of the campaigns they so selflessly support.

Juvenile elephant Jun at Vietnam's ECC

Their trip is beautifully described and illustrated with pictures in Dave's Blog – OATOKE.

We are realistically aware that the Olsens do amazing work all over the world – and count ourselves beyond lucky to be just one of the recipients of their endeavours and enthusiasm in leaving a kinder footprint on this earth.

To you all, we send our heartfelt thanks from one animal welfare family to another, with gratitude for all you are and do.

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