Just back from Vietnam where, as ever, I've been so overwhelmingly impressed with the sheer tenacity and professionalism of our entire team.
Our Chengdu sanctuary has seen an exciting new structural addition this week – our Special-Care Area for bears who require some extra help and care as they struggle with the physical legacy of their previous lives on the farm.
Fast on the heels of our conference in Beijing, which saw the attendance of over 250 traditional Chinese medicine doctors, scholars, government officials and policy-makers advocating the alternatives to endangered species, we then saw another exciting event in China – this time in Tianjin, near Beijing (where our beautiful brown bears, Caesar and Emma, were rescued with the help of the local forestry department).
What do you do with the hamper itself if you're lucky enough to get a basket full of goodies on Christmas Day? Put it in the loft, offer it to niece Nicole for her toys, or............. fill it with food suiting a bear's taste and give it to the residents of our sanctuary in Chengdu?
Hot on the heels of our UK trekkers to Vietnam, came our friends from Oz! Their trip involved several hours on site at our sanctuary in Tam Dao National Park before beginning the trek that would see them heading out of their comfort zone and experiencing the “real” Vietnam.
Over 250 members of the TCM community in China and across the world joined together in Beijing in the last weekend of November for the “International Symposium for the Conservation of Endangered Species and Traditional Chinese Medicine”. The symposium was sponsored by the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) and Animals Asia Foundation, together with the generous help of the Maria Norbury Foundation and Hauser Bears.
Good news from Vietnam! We recently welcomed a lovely 14-year-old male moon bear (nicknamed “Misa Hai”) to our Vietnam sanctuary. This poor boy had spent years trapped in a dark, dingy cage built into a couple’s kitchen in their house in Hue in central Vietnam (about 720km from our Tam Dao rescue centre). I’ll hand over to our Vietnam Director, Tuan, for details of the rescue and “Misa Hai’s” tragic story.
Have had a wonderful week with my sister Anne and family in the UK - where we also enjoyed the award-winning Christmas play, "Skellig", at the Bloomsbury Theater in London, with all seats so generously donated by the Birmingham Stage Company as a fundraiser for Animals Asia.
Our special Animals Asia staff around the world have put a lot of effort into this very silly, but very Christmassy blog. I hope you enjoy it – and our very first Christmas music video inspired by our latest arrival in Chengdu – little Jingle bear!