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356 Bears Find Healing & Love After Decades of Torture (VIDEO)

356 Bears Find Healing & Love After Decades of Torture (VIDEO)

In 1993, British-born Jill Robinson was gasping for air on the damp floor of a dungeon in Southern China. As an undercover investigator, Jill found what she’d come looking for and it was worse than she’d imagined. The darkness of the chamber was blotted with the silhouettes of moon bears, rows upon rows of moon bears, locked in tiny metal cages. This particular group had been imprisoned for 13 years and Jill was simply too sad to cry.


A Promise Fulfilled As Rescues Begin

For the past 18 years, Jill has made good on that promise and today, her organization called Animals Asia leads the crusade to shut down bear farms across the continent where it’s estimated that tens of thousands of bears are locked in tiny cages and ‘milked’ daily for the bile from their gall bladders, which is prized for its use in analgesics, wines and even shampoo. The specific details of the bile extraction are too tragic to describe here, but suffice it to say that this is indeed one of the deepest forms of cruelty on earth.

Because of Jill and her team at Animals Asia, there is a powerful campaign to close down the bear farms and hundreds have been rescued and are now discovering what it’s like to live as a bear inside of the organization’s sanctuaries in China and Vietnam. Once the bears are taken from the bear farms, they undergo complete veterinary examination, which typically includes surgery to repair their wounds.

Bears Surprised to Experience Freedom & Peace

“When they wake up here in their recovery cages it makes you glow with joy,” Jill said. “Slowly coming around from their anesthetic, you see them stretching their limbs to the point where the bars of their old prisons used to be. Then they begin to realize that something has changed and, in an anesthetic stupor, they continue stretching wobbly limbs further and further out — to the point where they can stretch properly for the first time in their lives.”

“Colin made us gulp back tears as we saw him standing up after the anesthetic had worn off,” she continues. “He realized that he had a bowl full of food at the end of his cage, but seemed to be concerned that the size of his new home would reduce again if he moved his whole body over to his food to eat. So he skillfully maneuvered himself so that his head and mouth could reach the food, while one of his back feet stretched out behind him and rested against the back of the cage.”

Sleep Well Sweet Bears

“They now have straw where a bed has never been,” Jill continues looking out on the park-like grounds of one sanctuary complete with climbing structures, a swimming pool and even bear-sized hammocks for naps. “Bedding-down had never been an option for these animals that are simply seen as a ‘resource’ for farmers who wouldn’t spend a cent on anything like basic care. Hamster is a bear Leanne (veterinarian) and I nicknamed. She had told me that he loved straw, but didn’t seem to realize what it was for. I joined her as he pulled it down from the roof of his recovery cage — strand by laborious strand, in what seemed like the whole afternoon, before he finally made a bed and then immediately curled up like a hamster and fell asleep.”

For most of us, for nearly all of us, saving thousands of bears from extraordinary suffering would surpass any natural expectations we have for ourselves as animal lovers. But Jill is a world class climber, and this is her Everest. She’s on the job seven days a week, although she refuses to call it work, and she firmly believes that she’ll see an end to bear farming in her lifetime.


You Can Help & Enjoy Special Rescue Photos

Animals Asia is a member of the Harmony Fund international rescue network and we’re raising money to:

  1. Pay for the bear surgeries to heal the internal wounds they’ve sustained on the farms.
  2. Provide mazes full of hidden treats and exploration cavities to keep the bears psychologically and emotionally stimulated in their new home.
  3. Purchase a new anesthetic machine to safely prepare bears for surgery.

To learn more about how you can help and to have a look at some amazing photos of the rescued bears please click here.


Related Stories:

Bear Baying: Chaining Animals For Sport

Bear Cub Rescued From Fishing Net (Video)

Orphaned Grizzly Bear Cubs Rescued in Canada


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Photo credit: Animals Asia

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6:33PM PDT on Jun 9, 2013

Remarkable woman, resilient sweet bears~

4:45AM PST on Mar 5, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

5:11AM PST on Jan 19, 2013

Thanks you for posting . What wonderful work.

6:13PM PDT on Oct 14, 2012

Best news I've read today! Thank you Jill Robinson for your tireless work for the bears. Thanks Laura for posting :)

6:08PM PDT on Oct 14, 2012

I've been in rescue for 30 years. What I have done is like a drop in the bucket compared to Jill Robinson's life mission. I applaud her work and wish I could have done work on a grander scale. My mission has been dogs; however I have rescued all types of creatures to include birds in my lifetime. My love of creatures goes beyond my love of people. After all the love of animals (and birds) is unconditional and a true soul connection! TY for sharing this very moving story. Thank God for people like Jill Robinson.

4:32AM PDT on Oct 13, 2012

I hope this bear cruelty is ended in her life-time, like right now would be good.

2:07AM PDT on Oct 13, 2012

I feel inadequate, justifiably are a hero.

4:52AM PDT on Oct 12, 2012

God Bless You, Jill!! What a wonderful organization you have. Thx for ALL you are doing for these wonderful bears.

4:39AM PDT on Oct 12, 2012

There is only ONE animal that should be hunted, poisined and forced into exstinction and thats the human animal!! All I ever hear is how God NEVER makes a mistake. Well as far as I'm concerned he made one hell of a big one when he created Adan & Eve. All human's have done is destroy!! Since Eve put that apple to Adam and desteroyed Gods trust in humans, then Cane slew Able. Animals were destroyed and the garden destroyed!!!!!

2:22AM PDT on Oct 12, 2012

Jill has a beautiful big heart .. and animals are love. What great work!

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