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.
I’m so sorry to bring you the news that another of our latest batch of rescued bears has died – one more bear that just couldn’t rise above the torture and succumbed. Since he arrived, Plug has featured in almost every vet report as being a worrisome bear and the team has been battling so hard to bring him through. We always felt that even though the remaining bears of the original 28 were getting better, they were by no means out of the woods yet.
The plight of the bears on the farms remains unclear, though our General Manager/Government Liaison Toby Zhang has tried every effort to obtain information. We have also offered help through the Sichuan Forestry. The officials were grateful, but insisted that the farms are under control now, and didn’t need our help. Taking matters into his own hands this past weekend, Toby paid an unofficial visit to two farms in Dujiangyan.
Watermelon’s turn on the surgery table today. This sweet and rather dopey bear has broken and won everyone’s heart from when he first arrived. Although his mobility has improved, it’s pretty certain now that he is blind - but my, it has to be said, he is a truly magnificent boy.
It’s always a nail-biting time to see one of our new bears laid out on the surgery table. Our vet team busily buzz around preparing for surgery and re-checking on problems picked up on during the previous emergency health-check from when the bears first arrived at the end of March.
Some really good news at last! Three new utterly beautiful bears have arrived at our Vietnam sanctuary thanks to the prompt action of the Vietnamese authorities. This brings to 12 the total number of bears taken in to our new sanctuary.
As promised, a photo of little Pi, who we plucked from the River Pi that runs through our Moon Bear Rescue Centre in Chengdu. Here he is with Eric and the security team that saved him.
As the earthquake outreach goes on I know that many people are wondering about the health of our new bears. Naturally we’ve had to postpone all but the most urgent of surgeries as our vet team really don’t want a sleeping bear on the table as another aftershock hits. (The latest on Monday afternoon literally rocked the chairs during our meeting.)
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.