Students step up to help the last bile bears of Vietnam

04 November 2022

“We are proud to support Animals Asia’s work to end bear bile farming” - University of Winchester, UK

In the leafy, historic town of Winchester, south of England, sits a modern institution that aims to be “The Place To Be The Difference”.

And the University of Winchester has certainly put their money where their motto is by being a long-term, ardent supporter of Animals Asia’s campaign to end bear bile farming.

Over the years, the University has been pivotal in ensuring the charity's future and success by providing much needed face-to-face time for our home-working staff and raising thousands of pounds for our cause.

The Reverend Professor Elizabeth Stuart, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost of the University of Winchester, said:

“Animals Asia was one of the University of Winchester’s chosen charities for our 2022 Graduation. We raised over £18,000 for them through the amazing generosity of our students, and their friends and families.”

And as if that wasn’t enough, the University is the proud Guardian of one of our beautiful rescued bears in Vietnam, who they lovingly named ‘Arthur’.

Saving the bears one story at a time - Giuliana Corea, Italy

Author and animal lover Giuliana Corea from Italy has been campaigning for Animals Asia for over ten years through the medium of storytelling.

A passionate environmentalist, Giuliana visits schools across the country to talk about our planet and the animals we share it with, with a focus on the plight of the moon bears in Asia.

To illustrate the issue of bear bile farming in a way that children can understand, Giuliana wrote a book about moon bears - the species most commonly used in bear bile farming - called ‘Moon Bears and Other Stories’, and dedicates all proceeds to Animals Asia.

Over the years, Giuliana has spoken to over 10,000 students and has donated over 30,000 euros to Animals Asia through sales of her book which has also been translated into English.

Teddy Bear’s Picnic - ISF Academy, Hong Kong

For students at the ISF Academy in Hong Kong, animal welfare is ingrained in their learning from a young age.

Teacher Robyn O’ Shea has “always been an advocate for animal welfare,” but was “especially inspired by the insightful, committed and strategic approach adopted by Animals Asia”.

So Robyn set up a ‘self-sustaining learning campaign’ where students in Grade 2 learn Jasper’s story, donate to sponsor one of the bears Animals Asia has rescued, and take part in an annual Teddy Bear’s Picnic! 

Then in Grade 11, students explore animal welfare laws, the ethics of bear-bile farming and wildlife conservation, and lead the Teddy Bear’s Picnic for the younger students.

Robyn said of her incredibly successful initiative to not only raise awareness of bear bile farming, but to encourage students to respect wildlife and conservation, “I’m looking forward to the time soon when the cycle closes: when the Grade 11 students, having experienced the Picnic in their early schooling, are already familiar with the goals and vision.”

“The children in my class care so much about the bears” - Teacher Elinor Priestley, UK

Ever since Elinor Priestley watched a TV programme about bear bile farming in 2013, she has been a dedicated supporter of Animals Asia’s campaign to end the trade.

As a school teacher, Elinor knew the young children she taught would fall in love with the gorgeous, playful bears at Animals Asia’s sanctuaries, and they did!

So much so that almost ten years on, Elinor and her students are still supporting Animals Asia, and have much awareness for our campaign.

“When I heard that Animals Asia was running a painting competition, I couldn’t wait to tell the children!” Elinor told us.

“As I expected, they were really excited and started painting straight away. There was no doubt in their minds that bears would be an important part of the poster, which shows just how special the bears are to them.” 

Educating and inspiring the next generation of animal lovers

These school children and teachers do so much for the bears, they not only raise awareness of our campaigns to end bile farming and improve animal welfare, the funds they raise directly enable us to teach school children in Asia about animal welfare and conservation. 

Animals Asia goes into schools to talk to children about the beauty of the bears that are native to their countries, how important the bears are to our ecosystems, and to inspire the children to want to protect and save them.

Our fun and inclusive programs see children learning through activities such as painting, taking part in competitions, and helping our bear sanctuary team care for our gardens (where we grow herbal alternatives to bear bile).

Want to inspire children to care for bears?

If you work in education and would like to get involved with raising awareness or funds for Animals Asia’s campaign to end bear bile farming, please email our friendly team at [email protected]