Animals Asia is devoted to ending the barbaric practice of bear bile farming and improving the welfare of animals in China and Vietnam. In some Asian countries, as many as 14,000 endangered moon bears are kept in small cages for up to 30 years, and have their bile extracted through catheters, needles and open wounds. The bile is used as a form of medicine. Our work campaigning to end bear bile farming includes operating bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam, studying the effects of bile extraction on bears, and engaging with the Traditional Medicine communities to promote alternatives, running extensive public awareness campaigns to reduce demand for bile, monitoring the bile trade and the trends in bile consumption, and engaging with policymakers and the relevant government authorities.
The animals that Animal Asia works to save and protect are in China and Vietnam, but there’s a lot that you can do to help them from far away. Every action that you take to help Animals Asia positively affects the lives of the bears who we work to save.
Here are five ways that you can help the bears:
1. Befriend a Bear
Bears who have been rescued from farms need enrichment items, treats such as fruity ice blocks, kongs filled with food, and tofu-stuffed bamboo shoots to keep their minds busy while providing extra nourishment. Every day the staff at both of Animals Asia’s sanctuaries creatively place these special snacks around the bear enclosures, so that the rescued animals can forage and stay stimulated. You can make a rescued bear’s day brighter from afar by providing these delicious and necessary items through our “Befriend a Bear” program. With a one-time donation of US$80 (£40/€70), you may befriend one of our nine “ambassador “ bears – Banjo, Bodo, Dream, Freedom, George, Irwin Junior, Jingle, Kevin, or Mausi for a year. You will receive your very own plush bear with a photo and information about your new friend.
2. Support Animals Asia online
Ending bear farming is a huge challenge, but by just clicking a button you can help spread the word and do a great deal for the animals. Our Facebook page is constantly updated with news from our Bear Rescue Centers and offices around the world. By “Liking” it you will stay informed about our goings-on and be able to share those details with your friends. The more people who know about the plight of the bears and our efforts to save them, the better chances we have of succeeding. You can also do a lot to help spread the word by following us on Twitter and re-tweeting us. Subscribing to Animals Asia’s Email Updates will help you to stay posted about our goings-on around the world and opportunities to help out. If you’re not already signed up, you can do so here.
3. Hold a fun and awareness-raising event
A wonderful way to spread the word about Animals Asia, and encourage others to help, is to organize a fun event. Events can range from a house party in your living room to a bands night at a local nightclub.
To organize a house party, all you’ll need is a space to hold it in, Animals Asia literature, our free “Moon Bear Rescue: A Decade on” DVD, and some cruelty free snacks. Send out an email invitation at least two weeks in advance to give your guests plenty of notice. Once they’ve gathered and had a moment to sip drinks and munch on snacks, invite them to sit down and watch the DVD. When it has finished playing you can hand out Animals Asia literature and ask your guests to comment on what they’ve seen. At the end of the night, invite guests to make donations in support of Animals Asia. Obtain a free copy of the DVD, a donation box, and Animals Asia literature by emailing Jada Campos at [email protected].
4. Sponsor a Bear
Another easy way to help with the care of bears living in our Vietnam and China Bear Rescue Centers is to join Animals Asia’s “Sponsor a Bear” program. This monthly giving program matches you with a bear in one of our sanctuaries whom you will help supply with all of their basic needs throughout the year. This is a great way to continuously help a bear recover from their painful past life being farmed for their bile on a bear farm. Sponsorship helps provide bears with nutritious food, veterinary care, and protective shelter. Our special care bears—those with extra physical or mental needs as the result of their time on bear bile farms–are also available for sponsorship. These gentle souls need secure enclosures where they will feel safe with other disabled bears, close monitoring, and special diets.
5. Join the Huma Challenge in May 2013
What better way to support the bears than by going on a life-changing adventure in Asia? Animals Asia’s annual Huma Challenge is a unique opportunity to meet the moon bears at our sanctuaries as part of a fantastic tour that includes visits to some of the most compelling sites in China. Beginning on May 16, 2013 participants will see Beijing’s Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, then remote parts of The Great Wall before flying to Chengdu to visit rescued moon bears at Animals Asia’s China Bear Rescue Center and pandas at the Giant Panda Breeding Research Center. Travelers will then embark on a train to Lhasa—where they will take in sites including the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple and the Norbulingka before this remarkable journey comes to a close on May 27th.
To participate in our 12-Day Huma Challenge, participants pledge to meet a fundraising minimum of $1,000. Registration fee is $300, and tour cost from Beijing is $2390 (airfare not included). Please direct inquiries about this unique adventure to Alice Ng at [email protected]
These are just a few ideas to get you started in your efforts for the bears. There are many ways to help, so use your creativity to come up with new ideas to educate and raise funds for Animals Asia. Don’t forget to check our website regularly for news about our ongoing campaigns and upcoming events.