Today we buried three more bears – Qiang Sheng (Strong Life), Le Le (Happy) and Chengdu Truth.
Thursday started with another post-mortem of the bear we had so hoped would survive. Named Qiang Sheng (strong life) by Madam Xiong Beirong, head of the Wildlife Protection Department of Sichuan Forestry (pictured here at Qiang Sheng's initial health check), this beautiful bear’s auspicious name, tragically, wasn’t enough to get him through.
Hours later, we were health-checking Lotus, whom we’d also called “Chengdu Truth” in Chinese. There are no words to describe our boiling rage at witnessing this skeleton sitting in a cage with a body so wasted that he couldn’t even lift his head.
This is more than we can stand....two more bears have succumbed to liver cancer – leaving our team to pick up the pieces and end the lives of animals who deserved so much more. Many walls have been kicked in frustration since the bears arrived late on Monday night. It is only Wednesday and already four bears are lying in grassy mounds by the river, finally at peace.
Our clever techies in the Hong Kong office have been busy today uploading some footage of the rescue.
Just a quick note to let you know how deeply touched I am by all your beautiful messages of support. As you can imagine, the past few days have been absolutely devastating for all of us here in Chengdu and just knowing that you are with us in spirit means so, so much. Thank you…
Late this morning (Wednesday), Watermelon stretched his hind legs and tried to stand! He didn’t quite make it, but he tried!
After the heartache of “Peace”, we so much wanted to have some good news to lift everyone’s hearts here in Chengdu. Obviously it wasn’t meant to be. With so many sick and injured bears, we knew that our prioritisation of these poor creatures was imperative in order to bring the suffering of the worst to an end. Depressingly, we knew too that, by doing this job well, we would of course be ending our day with yet another post mortem.
It’s early Wednesday morning and our lovely boy, Watermelon is now in a recovery cage almost twice the size of the cage he arrived in. He’s made himself a cosy nest by dragging down the green browse we laid on top of his cage and he’s starting to eat a little of the nutritious bear food mix prepared by our fabulous kitchen staff – fruit, vegetables and special bear pellets. He’s still not eating and drinking nearly enough for Heather, our senior vet, to declare him out of the woods, but at least he’s trying.
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.