Earlier this month, our amazing Italian office helped to organise the most beautiful concert for our bears: “Uno Stradivari per la Luna” (A Stradivari for the Moon).
Just recently we proudly welcomed our UK trekkers on site in Vietnam. These unsung heroes had trekked over inhospitable terrain for lengths of anything up to 10 hours a day to raise money for the bears, and arrived with us exhausted, but unbowed.
Thank you all so very much for your good wishes and beautiful thoughts for Franzi, which are still coming in. Not surprisingly, so many people were heartbroken that she had passed away, but no one more than her own team of caring bear workers here in Chengdu.
Imagine being born into an empty world, a world with nobody to comfort you, nobody to keep you warm, no hands to cradle you and nobody to provide for your instant needs, just an empty cavernous void.
When celebrity chef Simon Bryant arrived on site at our bear sanctuary in Chengdu, it was smiles all round. Simon is a fabulously popular personality in Australia and this talented chef and committed animal lover was happy to help in any way he could to benefit China’s dogs, cats and bears!
Many of our rescued bears in China and Vietnam are sleeping longer and eating less, telling us that winter's on the way. For the more active youngsters still bouncing around the sanctuary with their friends, I think they might have guessed that some festive goodies may be coming their way soon. If you'd like to make it a special Christmas for them - and for your family and friends - please consider buying your holiday gifts from us this year.
Chu Chu grinned as he always did – that silly beaming smile of his that stretches from ear to ear – and the years rolled back. It was Sunday, 18th October and my first visit in many years to Panyu, southern China, but the bears hadn’t changed one jot.
While some friends and supporters have been visiting us in China and Vietnam, others have been helping us from home and putting their hearts and souls into local fundraisers for our Honey Money Days.
A busy and exciting few weeks in Chengdu with visitors from afar arriving back to back on site. Just last month we welcomed long-standing supporters Denise Kirchen and friends from Luxembourg who have, over the years, adopted no less than 25 bears and sponsored a whole bear house!
This afternoon, as I peel Franzi her last grape, I think back to when I fell in love with her for the first time. It was on the 6th December 2002 when she arrived from the bear farm – and quickly became the bear described as both winning and breaking our hearts.
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.