Despite their terrible pasts, our rescued bears are generally just so good at leaving the bad times behind. One of the things I love about them is, simply, that they make you smile.
Visiting our Vietnam rescue centre in Tam Dao this week, I couldn’t wait to get around and see all the bears. And, in return, adorable cubs Maggie, Angus and little Taurus couldn’t wait to show me what mischievous little delinquents they’d grown into today.
Little Kaya has to be one of the luckiest dogs on the planet. Senior Bear Manager Nic remembers the tiny, skeletal puppy that arrived with us on site at the bear sanctuary in Chengdu after she was picked up from the street.
News has come in from zoos in China that their captive animals reacted in various ways to last week’s solar eclipse. Elephants and giraffes apparently returned indoors, thinking it was night, and cranes and flamingos fell asleep before emerging again when it became light – starting the life of another day.
Marc Bekoff (our wonderful friend and renowned animal ethologist) and I attended and spoke at the Minding Animals Conference in Newcastle, near Sydney, Australia last week.
Husband and wife artists, Zeng Jianyong and Tianmu, have sent us their most beautiful paintings of bears as their generous gift to our Moon Bear Rescue campaign.
Being on swine flu lockdown at least had the upside of catching up on the backlog of emails, and enjoying the bears out in the sanctuary (once the authorities had released me from room to sanctuary quarantine).
At 3am on Wednesday, Heather our Senior Vet and Tina our translator came knocking at my door accompanied by two gowned and masked officials from China's health bureau.
Our fundraising roadshows are always super busy, but the buzz of meeting our wonderful support groups, old and new friends, and raising much-needed funds for the dogs, cats and bears of Asia makes them 100 per cent fun and worthwhile.
There are no words to express our sense of loss as once again I have to tell you of the death of one of our beautiful bears. Especially a bear like Haribo, whose determination to survive captured the hearts of all who had the privilege to know him.
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.