Bearmania has well and truly arrived in the UK, and, according to Gill and Nicky in our office there, it seems that everyone in the town of Congleton has taken the bears to their hearts. Long famous for its historical link with bears, the town just recently organised the most amazing event and proudly showed off 75 five-feet tall fibreglass bears decorated by the towns schools, businesses and services. They even included a Bear Mayor!
What a fabulous event just recently in Chengdu after Suki and our Cat and Dog Welfare team pulled out all the stops and launched our brand new event — “Bikers love animals”.
Tuan, our Vietnam Director, sent the most wonderful update recently of a visit by a group of Buddhist monks to our rescue centre in Tam Dao. It brought me back to April 2010 when Buddhist monks visited our centre in Chengdu, China and blessed our newly rescued bears and sanctuary, leaving a veil of calm and tranquility throughout. Tuan’s words below are particularly touching, showing a profound example of the growing number of people who will not tolerate the ugly truth of bear farming in Asia today.
It’s been a long time coming, but well worth the wait. An impressive and explosive new report by TRAFFIC (the wildlife trade monitoring network) reveals a trade out of control with the message: “Illegal bear bile trade rampant in Asia”.
I miss that little dog so much — but love that he’s loved so much by Judy and family in the UK. Judy sent me a hilarious update about our little princeling, Tremor, who has been on a merry-go-round of happiness since starting his new life abroad. Tremor was rescued from a trembling mountain in the middle of an aftershock that followed the devastating Sichuan earthquake of May 2008.
Following the announcement of our new Ambassador in Switzerland, Katharina Buttiker, I thought it was high time I started featuring our other ambassadors and representatives across the world. And here, very proudly, now announcing one of our Hong Kong board members (and ex-Hong Kong rugby star!) Joe Hancock, who — along with his new wife Angela — surpassed himself recently by running a marathon of over 40 staggering kilometres! Joe and Angela have been longtime supporters of Animals Asia and generous benefactors to the bears. They even sponsor their own bear, Angus, in Vietnam.
With bulging eyes homing in on his quarry, and wobbly legs tottering over in pursuit, this scrap of a bear finally grasped the trophy in his tiny claws and bit down. One leaf, one small green leaf which, for that tiny little cub, provided a spark of comfort and perhaps a fleeting memory of the forest he used to know.
Since Sun Li’s event, life has been chaotic but fun — and this past week saw my family and I joining our German Director, Christa Filipowicz, our China External Affairs Director, Toby Zhang, and eminent doctor of Chinese medicine Professor Gao in Zurich for some wonderful events there.
While Gill and our UK team were battling the wilds of Dartmoor in the UK, I was in Beijing with Lucky, Sailing, Jacky, Toby and Fan Dang, celebrating an incredible event for the bears — starring Chinese celebrity and superstar, Sun Li.
Heroes every one — our UK team, that is, who walked the wilds of Dartmoor in the UK over a long, long weekend to raise funds for our beautiful bears and programmes helping all animals of Asia. Poor UK Director Gill wrote to say that she was “done in”, but that they had finally made it to the end, with sore feet and tired bodies — and very, very happy that they were well on their way to raising their target of £1,500. The pics speak for themselves — and thank goodness the weather was kind.