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.
What a fabulous time we had with our friends from Sweden's Animal Protection Network – Monica, Milla and Ulrika – who bounced off the plane in Hong Kong and straight into a Dr Dog visit organised by Marnie and team at Shatin Hospital.
Our dear friends at Philippine Animals Welfare Society (PAWS) are battling to help families and animals affected by the devastating typhoon and flooding in Manila. This is despite the fact that key members of PAWS were themselves trapped for two days with their rescued animals.
The organisers of the Second China International Animal and Nature Film Festival in Ya’an, Sichuan province, invited our China team to join the event, which recognises local and international filmmakers.
What a night it was. Steve and Sue – our fantastic Hong Kong supporters (and adopters of one of our bears rescued in February, now called Bill) – had generously offered to support our Honey Money Days campaign by sponsoring a night of music and fun in China.
The bear lies helpless on the ground. For the fourth time this month, she’s been drugged with ketamine – an illegal substance in Vietnam used by the farmers to render the bears unconscious and take their bile.
Clucking quietly in the early morning, Assisi was clearly suspicious that “something” was going on. A lifetime of nasty surprises, pain and confinement on the bear farm before he arrived with us in February, ensured that he would still be somewhat cautious with all the new experiences at the sanctuary.
Our Moon Bear Rescue Centre in Chengdu had a wonderful lift just recently – with 36 visitors from across China staying with us on site for our Summer Camp.
Just recently, we received a message that an online forum in China had been inundated with hits after someone posted a piece about his family being absolutely horrified to hear that toothpaste containing bear bile was being advertised and sold.
Our sanctuaries are always buzzing with activity, with the serious day-to-day management and care of the bears (dogs and cats) and often with important research being simultaneously carried out. This work can strengthen our arguments against the vile bile industries of China and Vietnam.