Tuesday 10am and Jen’s just made the first incision into Miracle’s, abdomen. At that precise moment, the lights flickered, some of the equipment stopped and our vet teams’ eyes opened wide over their masks. With a sleeping bear on the surgery table, this is not a good time for the electricity to fail.
There have been some incredible "people" stories coming out of the Chengdu earthquake. People crawling out of flattened buildings, or buried in rubble for days, sometimes over a week, and found still alive.
The wheels continue to grind frustratingly slowly in Vietnam. Eighty bears currently held illegally on farms in Ha Long Bay and originally slated for rescue into our care are now entwined in a complicated mess of Government intervention and delays.
Nicky Vyvyan-Robinson (no relation), our UK PR and Events Manager, has written a great summary of what the UK roadshow meant to our beautiful bears, dogs and cats in terms of the faith, generosity and tireless support from people all over the UK. You can see Nicky's write-up here.
Pat yourselves on the back our amazing UK team because you deserve every accolade going! The roadshow was a fun-filled, fund-raising, emotional roller-coaster from start to finish and we wouldn’t have missed it for the world. So fabulous to meet up again with old friends and supporters and to gain new advocates for programmes that we were proud to be able to speak about in person to audiences across the country.
I’m so sad to have to bring you the news that Bossham, who was among the 28 moon bears rescued on 31 March, has died. This brings to 13 the total number of bears from that group that have succumbed to ailments caused by their appalling treatment on the farms. Bossham was a brave and beautiful bear with a glorious temperament despite his disabilities; he was so much loved by us all.
And some more good news from China. Suki Deng, our Dr Dog coordinator in Chengdu and Rainbow recently took some of our lovely canine doctors and their volunteer owners to visit more than 40 primary school children made homeless by the Sichuan earthquake.
Losing Rupert has been particularly sad for the Chengdu team – but of course life doesn’t stop going on, and this past couple of weeks has been busy in both China and Vietnam.
Christie and I are now nearing the end of our UK Roadshow. It’s been exhausting, but wonderful and I’ll update you about it soon.
I’ve just arrived in Swindon, England with Christie Yang, our China Relations Director, and we’re starting our UK Roadshow here tonight. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be giving back-to-back presentations to update our wonderful British supporters on the latest China bear rescue and earthquake relief efforts – so I hope you understand if I don’t have much time for blogging.
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.