With the bears having enjoyed some holiday cheer, this second blog is to pay tribute to the people who care for them, and to our staff in the offices in China, Vietnam and HQ in Hong Kong, and to our country staff in the US, UK, Germany, and Australia.
The year 2008 has certainly been challenging for the staff of Animals Asia. Tragedies and disappointments have tested us to the limit – not least the devastating earthquake, the arrival of such sick and dying bears to our sanctuary in China in March, and the disappointment of not seeing the promised 80 bears in Vietnam.
A fond farewell to Amanda our Bear Manager responsible for bear enrichment in Vietnam, ie, the bears' entertainment manager! Amanda was at our Tam Dao Sanctuary for 18 months and poured her heart and soul into creating a life of stimulation and fun for cubs and adults alike.
Since writing about gorgeous Haribo’s attention-seeking raspberry sounds, we’ve had people asking if it’s possible to hear them.
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.