A look back at some Wow! facts and stats from across Animals Asia’s work in 2020

13 January 2021

As we say hello to 2021, we’re taking a look back at our stand-out highlights of the past twelve months. Prepare yourself for some really jaw-dropping statistics! Despite the challenging year we’ve all faced, the support and love from you, each and every supporter, donor and follower across the world, enabled us to continue doing what we do best: rescuing, caring and advocating for animals in Asia.

From the (literally!) hundreds of tons of scrummy food for the bears, elephants, cats, dogs and many other animals, to the millions of people we have reached through our education and public awareness programmes, we have achieved so much this year for the animals and people of Asia.

So here are a few top achievements and eye-popping numbers from 2020:

Bears

We fed 386,169kg (425.68 tons) of food to our rescued bears. 37,256kg (41.07 tons) of that was just apples! We prepared 102,899kg (113 tons) of cabbage, carrot and pumpkin for the bears we care for in China alone! At our Vietnam sanctuary sweet potato was popular with 31,392kg (34.6 tons) filling hungry bellies and providing opportunities for natural foraging behaviours throughout the year.

In China 123,322 marshmallows helped deliver vital medicine and pain relief to elderly and infirm bears. In Vietnam we are in the process of training up four fantastic Vietnamese wildlife vets to help deliver a lifetime of care to the hundreds of bears in our care, and the hundreds more who will be joining them as we end bear bile farming in the country for good. They helped to carefully prepare the 128 sets of daily medications for the bears which adds up to 46,720 individual prescriptions!

We’re very excited that new health interventions have been made possible in 2020 with two bears (Milagro and Arthur) piloting an all new physiotherapy programme. The pilot scheme was such a success that three other bears (Dream Mischa Tebs, Mary, Bubu) will now benefit from physio sessions to help improve their mobility. In the past, when bears have required root canal surgery we have relied on the expertise of the fantastic veterinary dental specialist Dr. Cedric Tutt who generously donates his time and expertise to help with the bears’ tooth care. Under Dr. Tutt’s guidance, our Senior Veterinary Surgeon in Vietnam Shaun Thomson has been trained to perform the procedure and has given the treatment to 10 bears with 13 canine teeth receiving root canals.

In total 183 bear health checks were performed by our vets and let’s not forget one of the best numbers of all; the 11 bears that were rescued in 2020! They are James, Alice, Bân, Cotton Blossom, Florence, Clara, Anh, Em, Uno, Storm and Starfire (previously known as Torrent). With a combined total of 110+ years of cruel captivity behind them.

One of the greatest achievements has been that even amongst all the turmoil and difficulties that arose in 2020, from devastating floods, to travel restrictions and the ever-present danger posed by a global pandemic, all of the bears remained blissfully unaware of any disruption, and their daily lives remained peaceful, enriched and full of love, and we couldn’t have done that without you.

Cat and Dog Welfare

It was a big year for cat and dog welfare. One of the goals Animals Asia has been working towards since its inception became a reality when Chinese authorities removed dogs from the official livestock list, effectively making the sale of dog meat in the country illegal! In addition three cities, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Laixi, have all strengthened their regulations against the dog meat trade which is a great indication of the progress being made on the ground.

Early in the year Animals Asia helped 9,710 dogs and cats who were at risk of abandonment due to the strict lockdown in the city of Wuhan in China following the initial coronavirus outbreak there. With the help of 42 local groups, we provided 11,793kg (13 tons) of pet food, 77 neutering operations and 393 vaccinations as well as helping to coordinate the groups in the city.

As climate change continues to make extreme weather more common, more companion animals are at risk of being impacted by extreme weather. Animals Asia helped ensure the safety and welfare of over 2,150 cats and dogs in shelters impacted by flooding in both Vietnam and China.

Despite visits being put on hold in the early part of the year, our Dr Dog programme managed to touch the lives of 1,070 people at 32 events in the Chinese cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Nanning and more than 1,600students in 26 schools became “care cadets” with Professor Paws dogs as their teachers.

Captive Animal Welfare

Your support has helped countless captive animals in 2020 including over 30,000 illegally caught and trafficked songbirds which were rescued and released back into the wild by Flight, our partners in Indonesia.

Our embedded support for the Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Centre (HWRC) has led to innumerable on-site enclosure and husbandry improvements over the course of 2020, as well as ensuring the safe release of 277 animals back into the wild. For one of these releases Animals Asia staff identified a safe release site for 32 birds into Cuc Phuong National Park as well as designing the husbandry and disease testing protocols, diets and transport cages necessary for a safe wild release. This release saw 18 Red Breasted Parakeets, 3 mynah birds, a red whiskered bulbul, 8 crested serpent eagles and 2 goshawks fly to freedom. Improvements to the rescue centre itself included the design and construction of 5 new aviaries and 6 new turtle quarantine enclosures with support from the Turtle Conservation Centre. In addition, our team has designed 59 hectares of rescue centre enclosure space across more than three sites in Vietnam including HWRC.

It’s not just animals in the illegal wildlife trade that have benefited from Animals Asia’s attention. Animals that had been forced to perform for entertainment have also seen their lives improve enormously. A zoo in China reached the decision to end all live animal performances following discussions with Animals Asia, choosing to pivot their focus towards education. In 2020 two traditional buffalo fighting festivals in Vietnam we have been monitoring and lobbying against for years were cancelled. Had they gone ahead almost 60 buffalo would have been forced to fight and been slaughtered.

Some other impressive statistics include:

200 - The number of 500ml bottles of hand sanitizer created from scratch following World Health Organisation guidelines for use at our Vietnam rescue centre and the surrounding community.

450 - The number of artistic submissions to our Children's Charity Painting Competition in China with the theme "Paint for love, Hope for our paw friends". Winning entries that exemplified messages of kindness to animals went on to be exhibited in 35 advertising lightboxes in 9 underground train stations in Chengdu which would have been seen by over 260,000.

Numerous online training sessions and events were held reaching thousands of people interested in animal welfare, including members of the public and thought leaders from prominent NGOs.

Hundreds of teddy bears were placed in windows in solidarity with people affected by the pandemic and social distancing.

Our education events, seminars and online events directly reached more than 20,450 students, teachers and members of the public, and hundreds of thousands more through media coverage and social media channels.

Phew!... There really was too much to fit into one article. We hope this has given you a flavour of what we have all accomplished together, through staying strong and supporting each other during this most challenging of years. We cannot do it without you, our wonderful and generous supporters, who keep our spirits up and our bears’ tummies full even in the darkest of hours!  

As ever we’re approaching 2021 with enthusiasm and anticipation for what we will achieve together in the next twelve months … if we can achieve everything we did this year, with the incredible challenges and fears we faced, just imagine what we can accomplish when we start to come out the other side.

As always, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for all your support and love that enables us to do what we do. You have proven, truly, that The Only Cure Is Kindness.

Read more: Jill’s end of year blog


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