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.
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.