Take a look behind the scenes with Animals Asia’s ‘Wow!’ facts of 2021

14 January 2022

From marking our 650th bear rescue to the millions of people we reached through our education programs, we’re delving further into the numbers behind Animals Asia’s work in 2021…

Food, glorious food!

Our two bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam are hives of activity, and in 2021 we were busier than ever! Our rescued bears were fed a jaw-dropping 435,724 kg of food over the year, which is around 436 tons! To give you an idea of how much this is, it’s around three times as heavy as the Statue of Liberty, or the combined weight of four blue whales!

Our bears receive three balanced, nutritious meals a day which are tailored to their individual needs and tastes, and delicious snacks throughout the day. Overall, our bear care teams delivered 312,312 meals last year. The bears also enjoyed 3,404 marshmallows, and thousands of jars of jam and honey which we use to deliver medicines to keep them healthy. Yum!

In addition, we provided 4,650 kg of food to cat and dog rescue shelters who were in need, the equivalent weight of a white rhino!

Medical and cooperative care

Our bear care and vet teams continued to deliver their world-class, expert care to the bears at our sanctuaries, many of who have life-long ailments as a result of their time on bile farms.

Despite having limited staff due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic disrupting travel and recruitment, our incredible vet teams performed 199 health checks and 19 root canal surgeries, removed three bears’ infected gallbladders, and weighed 1,026 bears, while 48 bear care team members received animal care qualifications.

Last year our amazing bear care teams expanded our cooperative care program, which teaches the bears to participate in their own physical checks through positive reinforcement.

These essential tasks, such as taking blood, nail trimming and checking blood pressure, would otherwise require the bears to be anaesthetised which can be stressful for them. This incredible program enabled 119 bears to consciously, actively and happily take part in their own care!

We were delighted when our China bear sanctuary was recognised for the incredible care they provide our rescued bears when they won GFAS’ Outstanding Wildlife Sanctuary of the Year award.

Animal rescues and support

2021 was a historic year for rescues, both for Animals Asia and for our partners including FLIGHT: Saving Indonesia’s Birds, the Hanoi Wildlife Centre, and the Elephant Conservation Centre in Vietnam.

Our most eye-popping stat is that the 101 Moon Bear Homecoming bears travelled 750 miles each to reach their forever home at our China sanctuary, cumulatively the equivalent of travelling around the earth three times!

We rescued and rehomed 117 bears, including our 650th rescued bear in December shortly before welcoming six bears from the Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Centre (HWRC). This means our Vietnam bear sanctuary is now 97.5% full, so we are racing to build a new sanctuary so we can start to rescue and rehome the hundreds of bears who remain on bile farms.

In addition to our bear rescues, we rescued three elephants and supported 12 more, helped HWRC to rescue 2,262 wild animals and release 983 back into the wild, and we gave support to 13 cat and dog shelters and six wildlife rescue centres.

And finally, Dog Meat Free International who Animals Asia is a member of, rescued 120 dogs from the dog meat trade.

Improving animal welfare

A huge part of Animals Asia’s mission to improve the lives of animals across Asia is our work with authorities and other NGOs to improve established animal facilities, as well as investigating and exposing illegal activity.

Our biggest achievement in this area last year was undoubtedly the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dak Lak Government in Vietnam to end elephant riding in the region where most elephant riding camps are located. This official, legally-binding agreement marks the beginning of the end of the outdated tourist activity and hopefully serves as an example to other countries.

In China, where the sale of dogs for consumption finally became illegal in early 2020, our volunteers reported 46 restaurants who were continuing to sell dog meat to the police, which either resulted in their closure, or the offending item being removed from their menus. Our incredible Cat and Dog Welfare team’s ‘Trap-Neuter-Return’ programs benefitted 559 dogs in China, improving their welfare and safety while managing the population.

Animals Asia also highlighted 304 cases of poor welfare at zoos, circuses, wildlife and marine parks, which resulted in the suspension of eight travelling circuses and many of the venues signing up to our workshops on animal welfare… more on this below.

The power of education… and canine companionship!

Another important and large part of Animals Asia’s work is the delivery of workshops, outreach programs and educational activities to talk to children, communities and animal owners- and -companions about animal sentience and welfare.

In 2021, despite restrictions to travel and physical interactions, our incredible Professor Paws and Dr Dog teams brought joy and companionship to 9,828 people while breaking down often long-held fears or suspicions about dogs and showing that dogs truly are a man, woman, and child’s best friend!

We ran activities with 3,650 school children across Vietnam and China, conducted ‘educate the educator’ sessions with 200 teachers, reached 10,000 zookeepers and educators through our online workshops, and established 146 improvement programs. These programs directly resulted in 149 improvements being made to rescue centres and zoos across China and Vietnam.

And finally, we ran social media and billboard campaigns in China and Vietnam with a whopping reach of over 52 million people - which is approximately the population of South Korea!

2021 was an incredible year, with so many lives, hearts and minds changed forever. Animals Asia will continue to put kindness, compassion and understanding in action as we truly believe this is the only way to achieve real, long-lasting change for the animals we are so lucky to share our lives and planet with.