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.
Several people have asked about gorgeous rescued market dog, To Zhai, and I'm very happy to report that she is doing stormingly well! The effects of her distemper have disappeared and she now only has another month of quarantine before she is "safe" to be released into the sanctuary proper, along with our other resident dogs
Staying with Vietnam in this blog, I can't help getting goosebumps whenever I see Vandrew wandering around outside. He arrived nine months ago on 1 July, and it was like turning the clock back nearly 11 years when I first looked into his eyes. There blinking out of his cage – thin, depleted, wounds on his head and with one entire front limb missing from the shoulder – was the double of Andrew, our first rescued bear in China all those years ago in October 2000.
From all your kind wishes and prayers, I know that many of you are anxious for news of Snoopy, who had cataracts removed from both her eyes, thanks to the generosity of a wonderful team of UK ophthalmologists.
It is with great sadness I write that one of our Hong Kong Board members, Bradley Caine, passed away yesterday. Brad was a longtime supporter of Animals Asia, generous sponsor of Gladly, and one of the best friends anyone could wish to have. His warmth and kindness, and terrible sense of humour carried him through many years of fighting cancer and earned him the respect of being the bravest man on the planet.
Spring is here, and in Vietnam that means the confiscation of terrified cubs from the illegal bear farming industry. Safe, but by no means out of the woods, please welcome our two new family members — pint-sized Milo and Sean, teeny 2.5kgs cubs, missing mum and fighting to survive. Congratulations to Tuan, Kirsty and our Vietnam team for working so closely with the authorities to rescue these youngsters and give them the chance of a life far away from the farms.
It’s not just people celebrating Earth Hour across the world — our bears are too. Join ChuChu in Chengdu and Vandrew in Vietnam and show the planet you care. Switch off the lights for an hour tonight at 8.30pm.
As Milo and Sean begin their long journey to recovery — gradually trusting people, gaining the size and confidence to finally meet up with other bears when they’re older, I wish we could reassure them that it’ll all be ok.
ohn arrived with us many years ago at our bear rescue sanctuary in Chengdu. A poor macaque who had been someone's pet as a youngster, before he matured and began to behave like adult primates do. Faced with an unpredictable mammal with very large teeth and attitude, his owners decided he was too dangerous to handle and asked the local Forestry Department to help them find a home.
This month gets more exciting by the day as the public rallies against bear farming in China. Just have a look here and see the progress that has escalated over the past few weeks, reminding me of advice many years ago from an official who simply said, “Start the debate in China”.
Jill heads Animals Asia’s team of over 300 enthusiastic staff. She divides her time between mainland China, Vietnam and Hong Kong, and travels frequently…READ MORE
Jill Robinson MBE
Jill heads Animals Asia’s team of over 300 enthusiastic staff. She divides her time between mainland China, Vietnam and Hong Kong, and travels frequently around the world to give presentations at conferences and speak at fundraising events.
A hands-on leader, Jill is involved in all major decision-making. She works with the vet and bear teams during rescues and health checks and advises closely on construction projects. She visits dog and cat markets and zoos and safari parks throughout China to document the abuse of animals and over the years has made countless visits to hospitals and homes for the elderly with her own and Animals Asia’s animal-therapy dogs.
She writes her own blog, her own speeches and presentations, is a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines and a frequent guest on radio and TV shows. She has also co-written a children’s book about moon bears and co-written a number of scientific papers with Animals Asia’s vet teams.
Born in the UK, Jill arrived in Hong Kong in 1985 and spent 12 years working in Asia as a consultant for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Repeatedly faced with scenes of widespread animal cruelty, she decided to introduce the concept of “animal welfare through people welfare” and founded Dr Dog in Hong Kong in 1991 – the first animal-therapy programme in Asia.
Jill founded Animals Asia in 1998 – five years after an encounter with a caged bear on a farm in southern China changed her life forever. Learning that bear bile could be replaced by herbs, she vowed to put an end to bear bile farming. Since then, Animals Asia has rescued over 530 bears in China and Vietnam.
In 2010, both Animals Asia’s China and Vietnam rescue centres were awarded the Carole Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence and in 2014 they were accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries – the only sanctuaries in China and Vietnam to have received this honour.
Jill is a Council Member of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS) Herbal Committee and her outstanding contribution to animal welfare has been recognised with a number of awards. In 1995, she won the “Reader’s Digest” Hero for Today award. In 1998, she was made an MBE by Queen Elizabeth of England. In 2008, she was named “Outstanding Earth Champion” in Hong Kong and was appointed World Animal Day Ambassador for Asia. In 2010, she was one of 12 recognised foreigners given the “You Bring Charm to China” award.
Jill received an honorary doctorate in veterinary science from the University of Zurich, Switzerland in 2012, and an honorary law degree from the University of Nottingham Ningbo China in 2014.
She shares her home in Hong Kong with her family of rescued dogs, cats and a tortoise.