Bear Kinship

Bear Spirit


Animals Asia - 28 tortured bears arrive at our China sanctuary!

Dear Charles,

Just a quick email to update you on the news that many of you have patiently been waiting for. Madam Xiong (literally Madam “Bear”!) of the Sichuan Forestry Department has kept her promise of closing a farm before the end of March – and, in the final hours of this month, our newly rescued bears are here! At 8pm tonight (Monday, China time), three trucks carrying 28 terrified, emaciated, but soon-to-be-free Moon Bears drove through the gates of our sanctuary in Chengdu, bringing our new family members “home”.

The next few days and weeks are going to be frantically busy as our wonderful team of vets, nurses, bear managers and workers get to grips with pioritising those bears in most urgent need of medical attention and begin their magic of repairing damaged bodies and minds. As always, this is a time of emotional highs and lows as we cry inside for animals that have spent decades in cages on barbaric farms, but put tears and anger behind as we become the professionals the bears need us to be.

Our first priority has been to ensure the safety of our staff by securing the rusty, dilapidated cages of these tortured, understandably aggressive bears, before offering them simple pleasures which they have never experienced on the farms. Free access to clean water for the first time in their lives, fruit piled high and tasty medicated shakes which will start them on the healing process – preparing for emergency health checks and major surgeries so necessary to get them through. Even straw placed on the roof of their cruel crush cages will see them quickly pulling it through, making nests on unrelenting bars which have hurt and scarred their bone-thin bodies for years.

It is the best and worst of times for everyone here in Chengdu – not least the bears – and, in between this new rescue, we want to thank you for having the faith to stay with us and for now being a profound part of this latest good news. Please come back and visit my blog where you’ll see updates and photos whenever there’s time over this coming week. Take a quick break and visit ( so that you can join the bears as, together, we start the first tentative steps towards freedom.

Finally, please bear with us (excuse the pun) as we try to balance caring for the bears and keeping you updated. I know you’ll have questions, but we may not be able to respond to you all individually as we start working round the clock at the sanctuary. Please keep checking the blog and I’ll try to answer them as much as possible there.

These bears may not be “smiling” like Jasper and friends just yet – but experience tells us that most will pull through ….with a little luck, and time, on their side.

Bear hugs,

Jill Robinson MBE
Founder & CEO
Animals Asia Foundation, Hong Kong 

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