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.
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.