Anna and our South Devon Support Group have been just fabulous over the years, raising funds and awareness and even sending little messages to the bears when times are hard. Anna's husband Brian is the now famous Moonie in that neck of the woods and dresses up in the hot and heavy bear costume to the delight of the crowds.
Tuesday, 9am and Kylie is the first bear on the hospital surgery table following Oliver who had his surgery on the floor of the truck on the road. A brown bear with large, strong forelimbs, but weighing in at quite a small 149kg, Kylie is already benefiting from a healthy diet and scarfing down everything offered. Still, she is thin and the only bear says vet Monica whose femoral pulse she can feel in her skeletal back leg.
Someone recently sent this link to the BBC World Service: One Planet - Animals & Us.
If you're having a bad day, just click here and smile a big smile at the antics of Podge and Benji in these short film clips taken by our Australia Donor Development and Administration Manager Jude Siekmann recently after we all returned from rescuing bears in Shandong.
Kirsty, our Vet in Hanoi has just sent over this wonderful update about our two newly rescued family members in Vietnam. The team there, led by Tuan, has done a phenomenal job in rescuing two bears from a truly horrible existence and bringing them safely back to our sanctuary in Tam Dao.
This blog is to give thanks from the heart to the various members of the team that made such a difficult rescue in China so safe and successful. My admiration for our staff members below is boundless and I make no apologies for such a long, long list, except to say a profuse apology if I have inadvertently left anyone out.
Bright and early on Friday morning we had an unusual but very welcome visit from some Buddhist monks who had travelled 2,000kms in a 30-hour train journey from Jiangsu Province to pay their respects to the new bears.
Thursday, 22nd April
6.30am, and our patient was bright and alert. Clearly still uncomfortable from the surgery, Oliver managed to take his medication mixed up in strawberry jam, honey and condensed milk, and eat some pineapple and watermelon. The other bears tucked into their food with gusto, and a happy Boris announced that the truck had been fixed overnight and was about 20km away.
Wednesday, 21st April
A rainy and very cold day. Since early morning, the traffic had hardly moved at all – our luck to be caught up in road works that necessitated all of the lanes being closed and then re-opened every few metres along the way.
As ever on these disgusting farms, we smelt the bears before we saw them. The door creaked open and 10 pairs of eyes blinked at us out of their cages in the gloomy half light. It was only about 9 o'clock in the morning, but a grey smog hung in the air and the farm seemed all the more depressing for it. Rainbow told us that the red and gold sign above the door proudly announced "peace in four seasons" – which is ironic given that it has been anything but peaceful for the victims inside.