Tuesday was Senior Bear Manager Nic's birthday - and the day of the big move. Brown bear Caesar and Tibetan browns Benji and Poupouce were being prepared to be transferred into their new specially designed enclosures which would cater to their different characteristics, compared with the moon bear type enclosures where they currently live. Substantially larger than the Asiatic black bears, Caesar, Benji and Poupouce have a propensity for digging - especially in the colder weather. Caesar, as you may have read in a previous blog, was a master at this and dug for China, often proudly surveying her "den" after an afternoon's work, which would fit six grown men.
I’ll never forget filming dogs being slaughtered in a restaurant in Hanoi several years ago. For two long hours I silently cried on the inside, while making a pathetic attempt to look calm on the outside, so that the people slaughtering the dogs would really believe that I was writing a travel brochure on the delights of “exotic” food in Vietnam.
I was thrilled to see in Hong Kong's popular Sunday Morning Post today an article about our generous high-profile supporter Harriet Tung, who was on site for our latest rescue. You can read Harriet's frank interview here.
Our gorgeous Jen, who worked as our Vet in Vietnam, recently married her very own “Bear”.
Despite our new bears having better body condition than those we received last March, the emergency health-checks are showing all too clearly the problems that the bear farmers are attempting to disguise.
The air was full of anticipation and excitement – it always is when new bears arrive. First you feel elated that animals that have been slowly wasting away in cages, tortured by the extractors of their bile, will soon be released from their suffering. And then you feel sick to your stomach, knowing that the odds will be against some of them and they will arrive with us too late.
Just when I’d written about Chris’s new lease on life, things took a turn for the worse.
This was a bear who originally had a belly full of pus and a hernia the size of a football. I'll never forget Chris arriving at our door on the 10th of June 2002 from a bear farm in Dujiangyan.
Writing about animal emotions after enjoying the London pantomime, “The Jungle Book”, the other week it seemed appropriate to reflect on the thoughts of two very special people who have championed animal emotions for decades.
Something told me in vet Leanne’s voice that it was going to be bad news. I’d returned to Hong Kong at the weekend for meetings this week and was dreading a call from the team as they went back to the dog rescue centre on Tuesday.
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.