ABOVE IS FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF AAF, JILL ROBINSON (AAF PHOTO)
These next two days are dedicated to the moonbears and the heros who work tirelessly on their behalf to save these beautiful animals from the torture of bile farming. Jill Robinson, the founder and director of AAF graciously agreed to set aside 2 days out of her insanely busy schedule to show us around and even let us sit in on any surgeries scheduled this week (bile drip catheter removals )
On my list of humans who have touched my life as true heros , Jill Robinson would be among them…and WAY up on the tippy top of the list too!! Some people get weak kneed around movie stars or music artists………my idols are those like Jill and her staff who do work that not many of us could fathom ….their reward is some times no more than.a twinkle in the eye of a bear once entombed in a crush cage no bigger than the size of it’s body for it’s entire life! A tube in its abdomen dripping bile to sell at premium price as Chinese Traditonal Medicine
The metal harnesses and crush cage
When Diana and met our first moonbear Bam Bam at the Tiger Temple in Thailand in 2008 we were entranced. She was so beautiful and was found as an orphan on the Burma border and fostered to adulthood by the monks.
ABOVE IS BAM BAM AND DIANA FEEDING HER A BOTTLE OF MILK
Upon our arrival in Chengdu China about a week later, we were surfing the internet to find where we wanted our guide Mickal to bring us in town. Low and behold on a Google search we found Animals Asia Foundation and the words “moonbear rescue” after it. We asked Mickal first thing as he picked us up in the morning if he could find the place. Being the awesome guide he is and his driver Mr Li were on a mission!!!
ABOVE IS MANDALA…ONE OF THE GROUP ADOPTIONS WE DID THROUGH MY PANDARAZZI WEBSITE
After a couple of hours and a lot of pit stops asking the locals if they had heard of the place, WE FOUND IT!!! Only to be stopped at the gates by security personel that were fully prepared to turn us away (good security = safe moonbears). AAF is open by appointment and we were not on the schedule that day. There was a group of school children having a field trip that Saturday…yes the kids go to school 6 days a week. Mickal did some very good negotiating , and after showing our passports and getting the “ok” we were ushered into the Moonbear facility….THE REST IS HISTORY!!
My goal with the trip this year is to gather information and lots of photos and video to fill my photography book I am writing to benefit AAF called “Shoot for the Moon” which will be available this fall of 2010.
My aim in educating the public about moonbears is to give you all enough information to drive a passion to help , but not as much of the painful images to cause the tender hearted to turn a blind eye…. This is a charity that most certainly hurts the heart to face head on….and is very close to my own heart. Admitedly….even I can’t dwell on the powerful images of moonbears suffereing….. or I would be useless to rally others to the cause.
My art and photos are the positive energy that drive me to spend 2 days with one of my biggest heros ever and her beautiful bears!!! These next two days will most certainly be a roller coaster of emotions
Every single time I get an email saying “I didn’t know what a moonbear was until I met you” I break down and cry…all good tears of course, knowing the networking via my MISSION MOONBEAR is actually making a difference…one person at a time…and it all started with a litte bear named Bam Bam!!!
ABOVE IS A VIDEO I RECENTLY DID FROM MY 2008 AAF VISIT
Jill with Jane Goodall who named the above moonbear Mandala Photo AAF
ABOUT JILL ROBINSON
Jill Robinson is the Animals Asia Foundation Founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE, began tireless work within China after her horrific discovery of bear bile farming in 1993, resolutely building relationships and negotiating with government departments to bring an end to this cruel practice.
Jill’s dedication and skill in handling culturally sensitive matters led to the signing of a landmark agreement in July 2000 with the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) and the Sichuan Forestry Department (SFD). The agreement pledges to free 500 suffering Moon Bears in Sichuan and to work towards the total elimination of bear farming. Sanctioned by the Central Government Department in Beijing, this historic agreement was the first accord between the Chinese Government and any outside animal welfare organisation.
Robinson’s work has garnered increasing international recognition, including an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth. “Jill Robinson is an outstanding person, she’s hugely courageous,” says Virginia McKenna, founder of the Born Free Foundation. “She will inspire many young people and is a shining example to everyone.”
ABOUT ANIMALS ASIA FOUNDATION
The AAF was founded in 1998 by Jill Robinson, who felt compelled to create the organisation after learning of the plight of the Asiatic Black Bear known as the “Moon Bear” because of the yellow crescent on its chest. Moon Bears are farmed throughout Asia for their bile, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine. The methods used in bear bile farming involve bears living up to 25 years in crush cages with metal catheters inserted into their abdomens for bile extraction or open wounds through which the bile drips.
THIS IS “WATERMELON”, ANOTHER OF OUR MISSION MOONBEAR SPONSORED BEARS /Photo AAF
Animals Asia Foundation has been profiled on CNN, NPR, Animal Planet, the BBC, the National Geographic Channel, as well as in print media in several countries. Founder Jill Robinson has received numerous distinctions for her commitment to animal welfare including the 2002 Genesis Award, the Reader’s Digest Hero for Today Award and an MBE from the Queen of the United Kingdom.The Foundation’s headquarters is in Hong Kong with additional offices, a sanctuary and an educational centre in China, Germany, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.
In February 2009, Animals Asia rescued a dozen malnourished, diseased Asiatic Black Bears from abusive bile-harvesting farms in southwest China. The bears were given to Animals Asia under an agreement made in 2000 with the government to save sick bears from state and illegal farms. The animals went to the foundation’s Moon Bear Rescue Center outside Chengdu, which has handled 260 freed bears since the agreement was signed. 
American Embassy in China, “Bear Bile Farming”
Animal Planet, “Animals Asia Foundation”
McLaughlin,K. “Freeing China’s Caged Bile Bears”, San Francisco Chronicle, April 25, 2005