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From East to West - celeBEARating 20 glorious years

The month of August, celebrating our 20 years of rescuing bears and helping so many suffering animals of Asia, gave me such a sense of pride and purpose as we also celebrated our international friends, who have been behind us every step of the way.

At the beginning of the month we welcomed 11 special guests from around the world who joined us on a VIP tour of China, including visits on site at our sanctuary in Chengdu. 

With Anne and Kristie from our Australia office chaperoning them as our tireless guides, the visit was our way of thanking these special friends who have so generously helped our projects go from strength to strength over the past two decades. It is no exaggeration to say that we all absolutely loved hosting Jenny and Julian, Brendan and Elisa, Craig and Allison from Australia, Jan, Olivia and Kimberly from the USA, and Leigh and Scott from Hong Kong.

gropuSupporters from Hong Kong, Australia and USA with Animals Asia team members, Chef Simon, friends and local supporters

The trip included meeting our glorious bears face to face, helping to enrich their enclosures in the morning with a sensational bear breakfast smorgasbord of treats, joining a routine health check with our professional veterinary staff, a back of house tour to see the bears asleep and snoring in their dens at night, bear lectures from our team of on site experts, a trip to see our animal therapists, Dr Dogs, in action at a children's hospital...

Jill- Dr Dog
...and the grand finale... a dinner under the stars with a gastronomic delight of courses and wine, created and cooked up by celebrity Australian TV chef, and Animals Asia Ambassador, the fabulous Simon Bryant.

dinner

 Simon BryantChef Simon Bryant, Animals Asia Ambassador

The ten day trip also included an invitation to our 20th Anniversary press conference, held at the Shangri-la Hotel in Chengdu, where we were joined by our Chinese government official partners, Deng Xiang Shui, and Huang Jian Hua, as we spoke about our work together over the past 18 years and our ongoing collaboration planned for the next twenty years ahead.

 press conf Hong Kong supporter, Scott Powrie at the press conference

I couldn't have been more proud of our entire team of the China Bear Rescue Centre, who pulled out all the stops and made this the trip of a lifetime for our cherished guests, and to the friends who joined us and allowed us to say the sincerest thank you for all their kindness and support.

Less than a week later I arrived in Germany, where our team in Munich was hosting an art exhibition entitled "Art and Moonlight" - with all things celebrating our beautiful bears.

 art

Special thanks and gratitude to "genius" photographer and artist, Josef (Sepp) Häusl and his partner Monika who organised the event at the spectacular venue of Orangerie Saal of Schloß Nymphenburg.

The organisation from start to finish was superb, and a testament to the remarkable talent and generosity of Sepp who has produced countless books and works of art to help the bears throughout these years.

 Oliver

Walking into the venue took our breath away – so stunning in all its historic glory, and now decked out with indescribably beautiful art from the artists who had so generously and enthusiastically embraced this day. Our never-ending thanks to: Sepp Häusl and Monika Haunerdinger, Uli Stein, Anja Assanoh, Danuta Ewa Sikorska, Linda Patchett, Nicole Bergmann, Jane von Sponeck, Hermann Egger and Syliva Wimmers.

 art 2

Guests came from all over to join us – from the UK, Italy, and of course across Germany –  to marvel at the art and meet the artists themselves. A sublime, creative and delicious vegan menu and fine wine took us nicely through the afternoon, as the art flew off the easels, with buyers being more generous than we could ever have wished.

 music and art

The atmosphere throughout the afternoon and evening was indescribable, with tears and smiles for the images portraying the tragic past and peaceful present of our bears, and an astonishing breadth of talent and passion encapsulated in all the pieces on display.

crescent

A Happy 20th Anniversary chocolate cake generously baked by Sylivia Wimmers was cut and handed out to all, along with a cheering glass of bubbles to wish Animals Asia well and successful into the next 20 years. 

 FrR_FrK Swiss supporters Frau Rebman and Frau Kilcher from VZUT present Jill with a gift for the bears, chococolate cake dominates the snack table and Monika and Sepp join the lineup 

My gratitude to our team on the ground, led by Jo, Mara and Veronica who worked like Trojans too, under the guidance and expertise of Sepp and Monika.

group

This beautiful event was a happy reminder of how blessed and fortunate we are to have these talented and special friends by our side, and how very grateful to benefit from their kindness and help....until the cruelty ends.

schloss at night

 

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