2018 in numbers: Here’s how you helped animals in need over the last 365 days

03 January 2019

Animals Asia works year round to improve the lives of animals in Asia. From rescuing bears from the bile trade to stopping the cat and dog meat industry and fighting for the welfare of animals in captivity, the work we carry out on behalf of supporters never ends.

Here’s what your support achieved in 2018:

At our sanctuaries:

In Vietnam, we rescued eight bears, each from over a combined total of 111 years of cruel captivity. As a result of the rescues, moon bears Kim, Mai, Mekong, Star, LeBON, Sky and Precious – as well as sun bear Aurora – are beginning new cruelty-free lives at our sanctuary.

Our vet teams performed around 300 health checks at our sanctuaries in Vietnam and China – that’s almost one every day! As a result, hundreds of bears are able to live active, pain-free lives despite the cruelty they have suffered.

The kitchen, vet nurses and bear workers at our Vietnam sanctuary prepared 82 sets of medications a day to keep the bears pain-free and able to enjoy life – that’s nearly 30,000 sets of medication over the year hidden in bananas, honey, fruit shakes and marshmallows.

Some of the bears' medication is hidden within their vegetables

At our Vietnam sanctuary, 140 new bear friendships were made due to integrations and moves around the sanctuary, freeing up space for even more rescues!

The 178 bears at our Vietnam sanctuary chomped their way through almost 30 metric tonnes of apples – that’s the weight of five African elephants!

The bears at our China sanctuaries wolfed down nearly 300 metric tonnes of fruit, vegetables and kibble over the last 12 months. That’s nearly twice the weight of an average American house and every kilo had to be transported, chopped and hidden around the enclosure for the bears to forage.

The small animal clinic at our China sanctuary found new homes for 12 dogs and seven kittens as well as rehabilitating and releasing one bird.

Our China teams stuffed over 125,000 marshmallows with medication to keep the bears healthy in their old age. They also whipped up nearly 20,000 congee shakes.

Staff prepare the bears' deworming medication

As the bears at our China sanctuary age, they need extra help to remain active. This year, we built 38 cement ramps to help them access their dens more easily and lowered 19 sleeping baskets so the bears can grow old gracefully.

Chanel and Longo snuggling up in the basket, CBRC 1

Our vet team in China toured nine cities in eight different provinces around the country to teach students about anaesthesia, pain management and animal welfare. These workshops trained over 1,650 veterinary professionals and students.

Animal Welfare: 

Our groundbreaking ethical elephant tours were launched in partnership with Olsen Animal Trust. As a result, four elephants are no longer forced to spend their days chained up waiting to give rides to tourists. Instead they roam free in Vietnam’s Yok Don National Park while tourists observe them behaving naturally, rather than riding on their backs.

[Animals Asia’s new ethical elephant tours in Vietnam] Bun Kham and Y’Khun love spending time together

We opposed over 80 circuses, leading to eight circus shows being shut down and one zoo ending their close-contact activities with wild animals.

Thanks to the signatures of 43,000 people, our two-year campaign to end the monkey circus in Vietnam’s Can Gio Biosphere reserve was successful, sending a strong message to the country that animal performance is never acceptable.

Following our elephant management training workshop, fourteen Chinese zoos and safari parks have developed behaviour management and foot care training programmes which will lead to improved welfare for their elephants.

We delivered over 30 enclosure improvements in Vietnamese zoos which have boosted welfare for the animals at the facilities.

Three macaques were rescued from private owners in Vietnam and placed in the care of our partners at Yok Don National Park where they can be sure to receive the enrichment they need to live happy lives.

Our team delivered veterinary skills training to over 50 vets in Vietnamese zoos helping them care more humanely for their animals.

We opposed poor welfare in 11 Vietnamese zoos, raising awareness among the public and directly leading to two zoos being investigated by local authorities.

Cat and Dog Welfare: 

We outfitted 13 animal shelters in 13 Chinese cities with bathtubs, heaters, dryers, shavers, beds and fencing and completely refurbished three shelter facilities, benefiting over 4,000 animals across the country.

Dogs were vaccinated

This year, Animals Asia provided emergency support to 293 dogs rescued from the dog meat trade by local police in Chengdu. Our support ensured the rescued animals received the food, medicine and vaccinations they need to survive the rescue and be ready for future adoption.

We helped four Chinese groups carry out Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) programmes for stray cats and dogs in their areas. As a result, more than 66 stray cats were helped with some being adopted by local animal lovers.

We provided hands-on TNR training in Nanning, China, for 40 staff and volunteers from eight local NGOs from three cities.

At the beginning of the year, we launched an online platform which allowed the public to report suspected dog meat illegality in their community. By the end of October, we had received 662 reports – about two every single day! – with feedback from the authorities in 149 cases advising the restaurants have either received an official warning, that no dog meat was found on site, or the establishment has stopped selling dog meat.

Animals Asia’s 8th China Dog Ownership Management Symposium was attended by more than 120 officials and charity staff from 36 Chinese cities. The symposium brought all stakeholders together to discuss how all groups could collaborate to help stray animals through humane population control and dog ownership management.

NGOs have a group discussion during the China Dog Ownership Management Symposium 2017

Our Dr Dog teams in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Nanning and Hong Kong, brought companionship to over 3,300 people in 221 visits – more than one visit every other day! While our Professor Paws volunteers taught nearly 6,000 people about cat and dog welfare.


Our billboard campaign urging the public to “care for animals, respect lives” in Nanning, near Yulin, lasted three months, and was seen by 100,000 commuters.

Awareness Raising

We organised 10 free health checks for over 2000 local people in Phung Thuong village – a bear bile farming hotspot in Vietnam. At the sessions, 44 traditional medicine doctors advised on alternatives to bear bile and prescribed more than 2,100 bottles of herbal medicine.

Phung Thuong 24.09.2016 159

Animals Asia has set up seven traditional medicine gardens growing over 5000 plants of herbal alternatives to bear bile in Vietnam. Three more are currently under construction and are set to bring the news – that nobody will suffer for a lack of bear bile – to a wider audience.

In 2018, the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre welcomed nearly 3,700 visitors including the general public, government officials and celebrities such as Virginia McKenna and vegan Vietnamese singer Ho Quynh Huong. At our Chengdu Bear Rescue Centre, around 4,000 people visited to learn about the plight of the bears and the importance of moon bear protection.

Virginia meets Bi Do 1

More than 100 Vietnamese media teams and journalists visited the sanctuary to film the bears and Animals Asia’s work to end bear bile farming in Vietnam. That’s about two crews every single week!

Educational tours of our Vietnam sanctuary were given to 1,071 students and teachers from 16 local schools and universities. For those who couldn’t make the journey, our staff travelled to give presentations on bear bile farming to 1,445 students in schools, and a further 250 students from local villages.

Local school visit (1)

We carried out over 40 public awareness activities in schools and local communities, spreading awareness of animal welfare and the need to protect the vulnerable to over 120,000 people.

We ran eight animal welfare awareness-raising campaigns in Chinese metro stations, cinemas, elevators and shopping malls telling over three million people about the importance of protecting animals and avoiding cruelty.

One Life posters

In China, more than 20 Chinese celebrities joined our #CaringWithEmpathy campaign reaching more than seven million people through social media.

Global media told the world about our work to end bear bile farming and promote animal welfare with such outlets as Agence France Presse, the BBC, the Washington Post, the New York Times, The Guardian, South China Post, People, Yahoo News!, The Daily Mail and The Express helping to spread the word to more than 150 million people!

From our gala comedy event in Australia to an evening with rock legend Rick Wakeman in the UK, we celebrated 20 years of Animals Asia in style. Over the years we’ve rescued more than 600 bears from abhorrent cruelty to give them fantastic new lives in our sanctuaries.

2017 Sonning Mill

And the most important number of this and every year, is one: YOU. Animals Asia is completely reliant on the support of compassionate people around the world just like you, who refuse to turn away from cruelty and do what they can to help. We can never thank you enough and are privileged to work on your behalf.