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I haven't been on the boards for about 6 months, so I thought I'd post in my favourite section about the animal welfare volunteer work I did this year.<br><br><br><br>
In July-October I went to Sichuan province, China, to be a veterinary nurse volunteer at the Animals Asia Foundation Moon Bear Rescue Centre. It is amazing - around 169 bears who have been rescued from bear bile farms now live there. After they first arrive they are given a thorough health check and their catheter (which is implanted in their gall bladders, through which the farmers formerly milked them of bile) is surgically removed. The bears on-site live the rest of their days in peace and have big grassed enclosures with lots of climbing equipment, pools and other enrichment. Animals Asia have made an agreement with the Sichuan authorities to rescue at least 500 bears from bear bile farms, and they are simultaneously working on campaigns to discourage the use of bear bile (used in traditional Chinese medicine) with the support of many Chinese doctors who are now recommending cheaper, more effective, herbal alternatives.<br><br><br><br>
It is a wonderful sanctuary and Jill Robinson, who set it up, is an inspiration. She visited China back in the 90's and stumbled upon a bear farm, and was horrified by what she saw there. Bears living in absolute misery and pain in tiny cages, starving to death and insane with fear. I admire Jill so much because she knew she just couldn't walk away - shortly afterwards she set up Animals Asia and has worked non-stop to close down the bear bile farming industry.<br><br><br><br>
Seeing all the bears who had come from these horrific situations playing and looking really healthy and happy was a wonderful experience. Sadly though many of them don't make it and die after arriving at the sanctuary. A bear I became particularly attached to died of liver cancer recently, caused by years of being drained of bile through a large catheter. She was the most gentle, lovely creature you could imagine - very forgiving of humans too and particularly fond of them, despite what other questionable human beings had done to her for many years.<br><br><br><br>
After my time there, I went to Cambodia and volunteered for Free the Bears Fund, who have enclosures for sun bears in a large wildlife sanctuary in Phnom Penh. All of these bears have been rescued from the illegal wildlife trade.<br><br><br><br>
Now i'm home and back to reality - looking for jobs! Hope everyone is well and I'm glad to be back on the boards <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
Susannah
 

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That is a really amazing thing to do! I'm glad people are acting to get rid of the disgusting treatment of those bears! Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading your story. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
ETA: Welcome back.
 

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susannah, thanks so much for updating us on what you've been doing! i remember when you posted pictures of the gibbons you had been working with at the sanctuary.<br><br><br><br>
you're amazing and very inspirational! i admire your work. do you have any idea when you'll be heading back out to do more volunteer work and where you'd like to go next?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys, you're both very sweet <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
Jenna I'm actually probably going to stick around home for a while to become a fully qualified veterinary nurse (I'm only half qualified now!) - it will open my options up a bit more to work with wildlife again in the future. I want to have a practical skill like that, because enthusiasm alone won't get me paid jobs in that area (unfortunately!). But I know that I will probably go on another trip in a year or so, I think next time it will be more time at the Moon Bear Centre or maybe to Vietnam where there is a centre for endangered primates.<br><br><br><br>
Take care! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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You know, I remember you saying you were going! This is truly amazing - congrats. Bear Bile Farms are so VILE<br><br><br><br>
How heartbreaking as well! I think the best thing we can say about bears that die at the sanctuary is that they died with people who loved them and with relative freedom and respect.<br><br><br><br>
Thanks for the update!
 

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You know, I remember you saying you were going! This is truly amazing - congrats. Bear Bile Farms are so VILE<br><br><br><br>
How heartbreaking as well! I think the best thing we can say about bears that die at the sanctuary is that they died with people who loved them and with relative freedom and respect.<br><br><br><br>
Thanks for the update!
 

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yeah yeah yeah <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rockon.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rockon:"> thanx for the update, welcome back..... I was gonna maybe hear from you whilst you were out there, but it turns out I was busy.... and of course so were you, and I don't know how internet access is in China anyway.... but anyway great to see you/ to know your adventure. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
Keep up your amazing 'voyage of discovery & animal rescue'..... and gracing us with your most excellent presence (and shining beauty!! yep that too!!)....<br><br><br><br>
ps, whenever seems timely (for you) or time for reflection etc, I would love to see oneday you create self-made map of all the places you end up going or would like to go in your bid to rescue our miserable world...Stuff of global location orientation concerning the bile trade OR ANY BAD/good TRADE and where its at, PLUS if you wanted on the same map, markup alongside (or whatever) the good side of whats being done where, as in Rescue Centres of where you've been or hope to go as I said, and whatever other detail you might imagine putting down as record for your prosperity and lookback & future dons.<br><br><br><br>
Peace, and bless your soul, mind the trolls/ no-gooders, and take care bear nurse! You're a very admirable person!
 
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