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.
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.