You know winter has arrived in Chengdu when Caesar starts to dig – and yesterday she dug for China.
We had a very special patient on our surgery table the other week when ophthalmologist Claudia Hartley came to visit. Apart from looking at the eyes of 17 of our moon bears with sight problems, Claudia also checked out Rhodri our resident leopard cat.
There she was – Harriet Tung (wife of shipping magnate Tung Chee Chen and sister-in-law of Hong Kong’s first Chief Executive, Tung Chee Hwa) standing in front of our gorgeous Andrew statue in Chengdu last week and talking to the Chinese media about the travesty of bear farming.
We had some wonderful visitors on site the other week - many of them "bear" people and all of them passionate about wildlife. The dream of the visit was sparked in 2007 when I was invited to make the keynote speech at the annual BIERZS (Bear Information Exchange for Rehabilitators, Zoos and Sanctuaries) conference in the USA.
Everyone by now knows that I don't have favourites. Much. How can you help it? There are some bears that have simply defied all the odds; they may not be the most handsome creatures on the block, but something goes pop in your heart and you’re smitten.
It's so good to be back in Chengdu, but boy did I miss something special last week. While I was with the Professor Paws team in Guangzhou, life at the sanctuary was no less crazy for the team here.
It’s nice to stop for a breath to write the blog as these past few days have been crazy beyond all belief. Last week saw our launch of Professor Paws in Guangzhou - the dog and cat eating capital of China(!) - where about 90 nine year olds enjoyed a unique way of learning at the paws of our newly recruited canine teachers.
Recently we had a very special visitor at our China sanctuary – world-renowned US animal behaviourist Dr Marc Bekoff. Marc was in China to promote his books, which have recently been translated into Chinese. This was his second visit to our rescue centre and it was such a pleasure to have him back on site.
Our rescue centre General Manager, Toby Zhang, and I had a very successful meeting with the head of the Wildlife Protection Department under the Sichuan Forestry, Madam Xiong Beirong on Wednesday, 29 October.
In what is a very exciting development, Harriet Tung, the wife of shipping magnate Tung Chee Chen and sister-in-law of Hong Kong's first Chief Executive, Tung Chee Hwa is speaking out on behalf of the bears.
Harriet has been following the Moon Bear Rescue for quite some time and now she has offered to use her knowledge and contacts to further our campaign to end bear bile farming. Please click here for the full story.
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.