My interest in the bile bear sanctuary dates back to a link sent to by award winning young writer (https://fieldofwords.com.au/comp-finalists/)and human rights activist, Fernanda Dahlstrom, whom I have known since she was a teenager. She knew of my interest in animal rights and sent the link, which filled me with more sorrow and despair than I had ever felt.
The world is full of terrible things- often terrible people doing terrible things to other people and to animals and to the land and sea. But the sight of these moon bears flattened on their backs in crush cages, held immobile for the whole of their lives filled me with horror. I had nightmares about the bears being trapped in those cage, unable to stand or bend, in constant pain, and moaning in terror at the footfall of the keepers.
I couldn’t get it out of my mind so I set out to find out how much of what I had read was real. So much on the internet is incorrect or exaggerated or plain out wrong. But none fit was wrong. The more I learned, the more I wanted to do something to help. I had an idea for a book I could write spawned by those nightmares, and I thought I could write it and then donate the proceeds to Animals Asia to help with their work with the Moon Bears, but I needed to know more. My younger brother had also begin working to help raise funds by producing a line of ethical clothing, and by helping to cheaply and ethically produce products several charities sold to raise funds. Like me, he wanted to see the moon bear sanctuary. He also had a documentary film maker interested, so we all went to China, my brother and his partner, I and my partner an daughter and the film maker and his wife. The Sanctuary was opened to us and we spend a whole day there, talking to the doctors and the Chinese staff, many of whom had been transformed by their work with the bears. We learned how Animals Asia had been established, its mission statement and of its rescue work.
After seeing the bears we traveled in mainland China for several weeks, and it was a trip during which my ideas fermented. Jan took photographs, and I thought and dreamed and sometimes me dreams were of the bears…
We climbed one of the four sacred mountains in China, Mt Emei
Above: The mound of crush cages keep so that visitors can see what the fate of these bears was before they were rescued.
Above: Temple conversations.
China was spectacularly beautiful.
Watching the sun rise over the Sea of Clouds.
Being given a special tour of the the Moon Bear Sanctuary.
Most of all, seeing the bears …