From meat dog in China to pampered friend and celebrity in the UK! Such was the journey of Twizzle, who very nearly ended up in a restaurant in southern China at the beginning of 2009. Twizzle was one of 149 “meat” dogs en-route to the grim live-animal markets of Guangzhou when the truck was intercepted by a Chengdu animal-welfare charity, which called and asked for our help.
Tuesday, 5th of May: A shocked silence as the digital image came into view. Crystal, our elderly bear rescued in October 2000, was lying on the X-ray table, having had images taken of her arthritic hips and spine.
Just recently, Caroline Bullock from Animals in Photos asked if I'd like to run a quick and easy mouth-swab DNA test on Eddie to determine his “roots”. I was intrigued and thought worth giving it a try – particularly as no one knows where Eddie originated from.
Anna and our South Devon Support Group have been just fabulous over the years, raising funds and awareness and even sending little messages to the bears when times are hard. Anna's husband Brian is the now famous Moonie in that neck of the woods and dresses up in the hot and heavy bear costume to the delight of the crowds.
Tuesday, 9am and Kylie is the first bear on the hospital surgery table following Oliver who had his surgery on the floor of the truck on the road. A brown bear with large, strong forelimbs, but weighing in at quite a small 149kg, Kylie is already benefiting from a healthy diet and scarfing down everything offered. Still, she is thin and the only bear says vet Monica whose femoral pulse she can feel in her skeletal back leg.
Someone recently sent this link to the BBC World Service: One Planet - Animals & Us.
If you're having a bad day, just click here and smile a big smile at the antics of Podge and Benji in these short film clips taken by our Australia Donor Development and Administration Manager Jude Siekmann recently after we all returned from rescuing bears in Shandong.
Kirsty, our Vet in Hanoi has just sent over this wonderful update about our two newly rescued family members in Vietnam. The team there, led by Tuan, has done a phenomenal job in rescuing two bears from a truly horrible existence and bringing them safely back to our sanctuary in Tam Dao.
This blog is to give thanks from the heart to the various members of the team that made such a difficult rescue in China so safe and successful. My admiration for our staff members below is boundless and I make no apologies for such a long, long list, except to say a profuse apology if I have inadvertently left anyone out.
Bright and early on Friday morning we had an unusual but very welcome visit from some Buddhist monks who had travelled 2,000kms in a 30-hour train journey from Jiangsu Province to pay their respects to the new bears.
Jill heads Animals Asia’s team of over 300 enthusiastic staff. She divides her time between mainland China, Vietnam and Hong Kong, and travels frequently…READ MORE
Jill Robinson MBE
Jill heads Animals Asia’s team of over 300 enthusiastic staff. She divides her time between mainland China, Vietnam and Hong Kong, and travels frequently around the world to give presentations at conferences and speak at fundraising events. A hands-on leader, she is involved in all major decision-making. She works with the vet and bear teams during rescues and health checks and advises closely on construction projects. She visits dog and cat markets and zoos and safari parks throughout China to document the abuse of animals, and visits hospitals and homes for the elderly with her own animal-therapy dog, Eddie, who was rescued from a meat market in China.
She writes her own blog, her own speeches and presentations, is a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines and a frequent guest on radio and TV shows. She has also co-written a children’s book about moon bears and co-written a number of scientific papers with Animals Asia’s vet team.
Born in the UK, Jill arrived in Hong Kong in 1985 and spent 12 years working in Asia as a consultant for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Repeatedly faced with scenes of widespread animal cruelty, Jill decided to introduce the concept of “animal welfare through people welfare” and founded “Dr Dog” in Hong Kong in 1991 – the first animal-therapy programme of its kind in Asia.
Jill founded Animals Asia in 1998 – five years after an encounter with a caged bear on a farm in southern China changed her life forever. Learning that bear bile could be replaced by herbs, she vowed to put an end to bear bile farming. Since then, Animals Asia has rescued 400 bears in China and Vietnam.
Jill is a Council Member of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS) Herbal Committee and shares her home in Hong Kong with her family of three dogs and five cats.