Stop the traffic!

HOT OFF THE PRESS! All 8 species of Pangolin have just been upgraded to Appendix 1 at CITES, securing them a much stronger level of global protection.

Officially the most trafficked animal in the world, the Pangolin has been in the headlines recently alongside Elephants and Rhinos as the CITES conference got underway.  Lisa Hywood (www.tikkihywoodtrust.org) our friend from the Tikki Hywood Trust has been at Cites, fighting for their protection! Well done to Lisa and all the others there on behalf of the Pangolin, what a great result!!

We will be joining Lisa and organisations such as Species Survival Network (www.ssn.org) and African Elephant Coalition (www.africanelephantcoalition.org) who will be representing many of the species that the projects we support strive to protect. We are all hoping for great results across the board, helping to put an end to the trade of these animals and their body parts. Sue and I head there tomorrow and will be on the side lines looking, listening and learning….. We will be there as members of SSN and are excited to see their president, Will Travers in action!

Have a look at this 1 minute video to hear Lisa talking about Pangolins and to see some footage of these intriguing animals.

BBC article

If you want to find out more about Cites watch this great video from the Born Free Foundation explaining it all…..

Cites Explained 

 

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1000 Voices – 1 Message!

I was happy to join the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos and to support Lilongwe Wildlife Trust on behalf of Malawi’s Elephants.

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This was a timely march in the run up to CITES, The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (www.cites.org), which is taking place right now. My sister Sue Olsen and I will be attending the conference next week and crucial decisions will be made regarding the trade in ivory and rhino horn as well as many other species and their by products. We’ll update you from Cites next week, fingers crossed for positive outcomes. 03-copy

A huge crowd marched through London to the door of No. 10, to urge the government to take action on closing the UK’s ivory trade.

Elephants and rhinos face extinction unless all countries act together to ban their domestic trade in ivory and rhino horn and protect these species with the strongest possible measures. 🐘📢

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Powerful speeches from Virginia McKenna and Dominic Dyer, from The Born Free Foundation and Malawi’s own Ngane, delivered powerful and heart fet meesages on the subject.  Also speaking were world renown conservationist Ian Redmond OBE and Stanley Johnson, father of Boris Johnson.

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All About the Ellies!

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Poignant Words from the Prince
Yesterday Tusk’s Royal Patron Prince William spoke at London’s Shard about the plight of Elephants. His speech was broadcast live worldwide through Facebook and linked to John Scanlonin, the Secretary General for CITES in Johannesburg and Dr Handa, Chairman of ISPS Handa in Japan who also spoke. Check out their speech by clicking on the link below…
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Global March for the Elephants & Rhinos
I’m sure after hearing what the Prince has to say you will want to JOIN US TOMORROW (Sat 24th Sept) at Cavendish square to March for the Elephants. I will be supporting the whole event and in particular giving a voice to Malawi’s elephants so if your there look out for one of my boards…..
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Oh……what a night!

Animals Asia event – Ridgmount, 25th June 2016

A huge thank you to all those who attended OAT’s Animals Asia Event on Saturday 25th June. I think its safe to say a wonderful night was had by all and so lovely to hear that Animals Asia believe it to be the most beautiful party they’ve ever had!!!!!! All the credit must go to Sue, Catherine, Polly and Jono, between them they ‘Nailed’ this event and made a Great job of it. Well Done OATer’s! 😍👍🏼🎉

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It was so much more than a “knees up.” Delicious, mainly vegan food and drinks were served outside and as the sun set over the North Downs ☀️ the guests gathered on the steps for inspirational talks from my amazing sister Sue Olsen, Founder of OAT, the gracious Virginia Mckenna, founder of Born Free Foundation, the captivating Jill Robinson, the founder of Animals Asia and passionate Peter Egan, Actor and AA Patron. They even got me to say a few words having just returned from my first trip to China and Vietnam to visit Jill and the AA team. Not being able to bring myself to share some of the horrors 😳 I had experienced I hope that what I didn’t say had as much impact as what I did manage to get out.

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You could have heard a pin drop as Jill talked through her slides, horrific and astounding in equal measure.  Every time I learn more of what AA continue to achieve I find myself so fired up to find new ways to help. I’m sure it was painful for many to watch but by the number of tissues passed round, their reactions afterwards and generous donations received it seems that something great has been ignited.  Dogs, Cats, Bears and the Animals Asia team have a number of new life long friends. 😃

AND…………….

Due to the INCREDIBLE generosity of everyone who attended we managed to raise over £35,000!!!!! 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 A fantastic result which we are hugely thankful for and will make a big impact to AA’s important ongoing work, until the suffering ends….

We will update you before the end of the year on the impact of your generosity. Thank again from everyone at AA and OAT 😃

Rays of Hope…

Vietnam

The last part of of my Asian trip was spent in Vietnam with The Animals Asia teams on the ground. It’s been a Hell of a trip and an experience I’ll never forget.  Emotional to say the least.

The first few days were truly “dark”.  I visited domestic bear bile farms and saw first hand, beautiful Moon bears caged up on people’s property.  I know this is hard, and some of you are probably saying right now “I can’t look at this” but please read on. The more people are aware of these atrocities, and spread the word, the more chance there is of local and international pressure being exerted on governments to do something about it.  Also, by reading on you will see the ray of hope that amazing people, like Jill Robinson and her Animals Asia team,  are bringing for the future of these innocent animals. Be brave for the animals who have no choice, or voice.

The Dark Side

It felt like I was going back in time and travelling trough torture chambers of bygone years and I am not being dramatic here.  The groans of the bears, as we walked past was haunting. Many were bald from constantly rubbing their heads against the bars, driven to distraction being in a space barely big enough to move , year in and year out in temperatures of over 40 degrees and on top of this wearing a fur coat. Oh, and guess what, they starve their bears so that they produce more bile, and, they are not only kept for their bile but also for their paws (US$500 per paw) Aaaagggghhhh 😡😡😡

How dare we do this to animals…… how dare we 😪😪😪😪😪 Disgusting, Extremely upsetting, Cruel, Exploitative, in-humane, Wrong……. need I go on😳😡😡😡😞😞😪😪😪😡😡😡😳😳😳

These are not photos from archives, these are my personal pics, hot off the press. This disgusting business is happening right now.

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These cages are larger than the ones they used to be in. When the law changed recently, the government made the farmers move their bears into larger cages… kind hey?

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Other issues… Hanoi Zoo and Traditional Medicine Street

In addition to the bile farms, I also visited Hanoi zoo and one of the  Traditional Medicine Streets. On the street I was very easily able to source pangolin scales and bear bile, (both illegal) and it took 5 minutes for a local dealer to arrive with the goods. I said I would think about it and she gave me her business card and told me to contact her if I needed these items or indeed anything else…

The zoo was pitiful and it broke my heart to see 4 Asian elephants in a tiny enclosure but thanks to Animals Asia, who are working with the zoo to improve conditions for the animals, AA sponsored an electric fence and the previously chained Elephants are now at least able to move around.

In think its time I moved on to the bright side…

The Bright Side

Animals Asia have been working closely with the Vietnamese Government and they have recently agreed to phase out the Bear Bile industry over the next three years. Existing bear owners are allowed to keep their bears (like the ones I saw) and legally, are not allowed to farm them for bile. But needless to say this does still go on as its so difficult to police and is always open to corruption. Under some circumstances the bears can be rescued / confiscated and Animals Asia are constantly looking for ways to do this and are succeeding.  This will be a long hard road ahead but it does mean that more and more of these beautiful bears will need to be housed in the future and to maximise these opportunities, Animals Asia  will need to expand their existing sanctuary and if possible build more sanctuaries.

Animals Asia also work with local schools and communities educating the young, and not so young, on animals welfare issues and alternative remedies to bear bile.

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The Best Sanctuary ever!

Animals Asia’s existing Bear Sanctuary is situated within Tam Dao national park which is 90 mins north of Hanoi.  It’s a tropical  paradise, lush vegetation, birds, insects and a river runs right through the middle, its…… Beautiful 👍😀

There are currently 148 rescued bears here and remember,  they were previously in the exact same situation as those poor bears I visited at the bear farm a few days ago…… this must be heaven to them. There are still an estimated 1000 bears still in need of rescue 😞😞😪😪

This is the best way for humans to say sorry to these Bears ……. the best animal sanctuary I have ever seen. I’m thinking of buying a bear suit and trying to get accepted here as a resident. Only the best care and respect here for the Bears.

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We, OAT, are sponsoring a new enclosure soon to be built here. A beautiful location right next to the river. Work is due to begin in a months time and should take 6 months to complete. Many more enclosures will be needed though…

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What a beautiful way to finish an emotional trip to Asia.

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I will never give up trying to help these poor bears, still being farmed for their bile.😞😞

I am back home in the UK now, and looking forward to seeing some of you at our fund raising event, in aid of Animals Asia, this weekend.  Fingers crossed for good weather, but I must say I am enjoying the coolness right now!

 

 

Dr Dave & Delegate Dave

My Last few days in China before heading off to Vietnam have been very interesting indeed…

Chengdu Sanctuary

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I was incredibly privileged to be able to participate in one of the health checks here at the sanctuary. They are completed  every two years on each bear in Animals Asia’s care.

This particular bear Teddy, shown in the photo below, needed her claws clipping (which I was allowed to do), a canine tooth extracted and a hernia also needed to be removed. The hernia had developed in the area where the catheter had been inserted to remove bile, in her previous life on a bear bile farm.

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Sadly my next doctor experience was witnessing another bear called Bebe, being euthanised.  After years of receiving very effective pain relief, sadly the time had come when the quality of life was just no longer acceptable. These bears have incredible arthritic problems from being kept in bear bile cages for so many years.

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But lets not forget, that thanks to Animals Asia, the last half of Bebe’s life was filled with love and care in the freedom of a Beautiful sanctuary.

The next picture is of a bear that lived in the enclosure next to Bebe who came to the fence when we walked past him after paying our respects to Bebe. I am positive he sensed our sorrow and had come to cheer us up. We have so much to learn from animals….we are so disconnected from our instincts.

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China Dog Ownership Management Symposium, city of Xi’an.

Having said regretful goodbyes to the Chengdu Sanctuary I flew with Jill Robinson to Xi’an where Animals Asia hosted the 7th China Dog Ownership Management Conference.

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Held every two years, Animals Asia‘s Dog Ownership Management conferences bring Government and NGO’s together from provinces and cities across China to discuss issues concerning the management of stray and owned dogs.

As the largest such symposium of its kind in China, the delegates are brought together to discuss practical and humane forms of dog ownership management, including the updating of humane policies and regulations, veterinary intervention, disease control, public education, NGO collaboration, and the use of publicity, media help and mobile applications to facilitate this work.

Since 2009, over 250 government representatives of dog ownership management departments in 46 cities across China have taken part in these meetings, together with the relevant NGO’s.

At the end of the day…

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Sorry, I could resist including this picture of a sign that was placed on my bed in the hotel.

It was really weird seeing people smoking in the hotel today. I believe they tried to ban smoking in public buildings here but there  was a massive public out cry against it……..😳😳😳

Next stop – Vietnam!

 

 

 

 

 

Professor Paws

Another amazing Animals Asia project…

Sadly, the majority of people in China don’t have dogs as pets and many consider them as vermin or dangerous street animals. Most children here are scared of them and don’t understand how to read their body language or how to approach and greet a strange dog safely.

A few days ago I visited the ‘Professor Paws’ project which involves taking dogs to schools to introduce them to children. It is similar to the Dr Dog project in that the objective is to encourage mutual respect and appreciation between humans and animals. All dogs Animals Asia work with go through a rigorous selection process before being allowed to participate in their programmes, and Professor Paws is no exception.

The children were very excited when we arrived with the dogs and very quickly came to terms with the visit and really enjoyed the interaction.

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The children put on a dance for us and we were accepted and treated like celebrities…….. Well Jill is a celebrity here anyway, and rightly so !  They sang  “we love Jill” – “we love Animals Asia”……. we were in tears throughout the show…….. Beautiful and touching 😂😂😅😅😅👍😀👍😀

After the welcome ceremony, the children were invited to sit on the floor and be introduced to a dog. They were fascinated and so happy to touch and interact with them.

 

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Master Chef

Local press and government officials were present on the day and towards the end of the event a couple of surprises came our way 😳😳😳…… A local chef was invited to the school and Jill and I were asked to take part (on stage) in a sticky rice pudding making competition. This involved wrapping sticky rice and a piece of fruit in bamboo leaves and then tying the parcel up with string ready for steaming.

I was the BEST of course he he😀👍😀

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