Flooding threatens Chengdu Sanctuary

10 July 2013

Animals Asia’s sanctuary in Chengdu, China has suffered flood damage following a sustained period of wet weather in the region. 

Emergency protocols have been put into action with the brown bears housed closest to the adjacent river evacuated in travel cages, and moon bears being confined to dens during periods of heavy rain. 

Sanctuary staff reported unprecedented rainfall and a subsequent swelling of the River Pi to levels not seen during the lifetime of the sanctuary. Damage had already been sustained to the riverbank due to the high levels of fast flowing water. 

Non-essential staff were sent home yesterday with a remaining skeleton staff of around 40 with 18 spending last night camped on the site’s highest ground in the sanctuary hospital alongside evacuated bears and pets. 

There has been some damage to parts of sanctuary with the flooding initially coming from surrounding farmlands. 

The team had prepared for the worst with recent appraisals of the situation. Earlier suggestions of flooding were dismissed by local water authorities. Later as water levels rose flooding of the entire site seemed the most likely scenario but most recent reports have water levels dropping and they continue to do so today. 

Animals Asia founder Jill Robinson has travelled to Chengdu to assist with the situation. 

Bear and Vet Team Director Nic Field commented: 

“The emergency protocols have been created for such a situation and this is certainly the worst flooding that we have endured on site. It has been a process of balancing the needs, requirement and safety of the bears with a duty of care to all staff. 

“The situation has brought out the best in the team and, with the worst hopefully over, it has been an incredible group effort. Our thoughts are with our neighbours in the surrounding villages. In the end it appears that despite a scare and some damage sustained we’ve been comparatively lucky.”