Another exciting week with the bears in Chengdu, with a visit by long-standing friend and ally Harriet Tung and her husband, Tung Chee Chen (CC), who is the brother of Hong Kong’s first Chief Executive, Tung Chee Hwa.
We recently received a letter from Christine Yan Qing, who was so very special to us all during her years with Animals Asia at our China sanctuary. Christine even (very generously and very patiently) began Chinese lessons for the Westerners in her spare time!
UK comedian and actor Ricky Gervais has come up trumps for the bears and, just this week, won Britain's popular Absolute Radio competition “Who’s calling Christian?” beating UK opposition leader David Cameron and veteran radio and TV broadcaster and comedian Sir Terry Wogan in the process.
This past month has been one for the dogs in Hong Kong! Just a few weeks ago we held our annual Walk for Harmony, with nearly 100 volunteers, supporters and their dogs turning up in the heat to walk a route in Hong Kong – showing off our four-legged best friends as a species so deserving of being humankind’s friends, not food or fur.
Love and thanks from the heart from the bears, dogs, cats and people who have had the utmost privilege to know and work with Annie Ditton, our amazing volunteer who gave up six months of her life to live and work on site with us in Chengdu.
“Danny has hobbies: being stroked, car watching and smelling feet”. And so goes a verse in the poem “A Day in the Life of Danny the Cat” by celebrity poet Benjamin Zephaniah who came to see us on site in Chengdu this week.
As we celebrate the year of the Tiger, it’s ironic to see such hideous treatment of this endangered New Year icon in China’s safari parks and zoos.
Who would have thought our teeny tiny Jingle could have grown up so fast. Rescued in Chengdu towards the end of 2009, our "baby" of the family is now weighing in at an incredible 50kgs (give or take a few grams).
Our volunteers are literally everything to the bears (and dogs and cats) at our sanctuaries in Chengdu and Vietnam. Over the years, we’ve had some absolutely fabulous help from passionate people who are willing to give up three months of their lives and step into the great unknown. They work for nothing except for meals and board, and of course lots of “food for the soul” from the resident animals we house.
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.