Family Trip to Asia

So far it’s been a very busy year for OAT on the travel front!  We have visited numerous projects we support in both Asia and Africa and its been great to have the rest of the family with me on some of the trips.

Animals Asia

Myself, Sue and Jonathan kicked it off with a visit to China and Vietnam in March, and I am pleased to say my nephew Jeff (17) and niece Nicola (12), joined us on this trip. We are hopeful they will carry the legacy of OAT forward into the next generation and continue to help all animals in need.


1 & 2 OATers with AA

Our trip included visits to Animals Asia’s bear sanctuaries in both China and Vietnam, who collectively home 100’s of bears rescued from the horrific bear bile industry.

4. beautiful moon bears

Everyone loved seeing the bears in their beautiful lush enclosures, enriched with plenty of activities to keep them stimulated. The Olsens even participated in hiding some of the bear food in the enclosures – when the bears were safely locked into their night enclosures of course – and it was great to see the bears foraging around afterwards looking for and then enjoying delicious pieces of fruit, vegetables and even mayonnaise and honey 🍯😋!

7 food

Animal Asia’s mission, is to continue their rescue, rehabilitation and advocacy work, until one day the inhumane practice of bear bile farming is outlawed completely. Through their tenacious efforts over the last 20 years, the practice was recently abolished in Vietnam and there are positive signs that China will follow suit in the future.

5. enjoying new life new home

6 proud supporters

Although Animals Asia’s main focus is bears, they deal with many welfare issues relating to other wild and domestic animals such as dogs, cats and elephants. Education is also a key element of their work which is crucial for changing peoples attitudes to animal welfare now, and in the future.

We are supporting a relatively new initiative of Animals Asia’s in Vietnam aimed at ending the disgraceful tourist activity of elephant back riding. More on this later as the project develops but if successful, this will be a real game changer. Whilst there, we visited some rescued elephants and those currently being used for riding. 😓

Ele chained8 rescued eles


Wilderness Foundation – Forever Wild Rhino; Vietnam be my Hero

Whilst in Vietnam, we also visited the offices of Forever Wild Rhino; Vietnam be my Hero, a project owned and operated by The Wilderness Foundation, whose aim is to reduce the demand for rhino horn by educating the next generation. A select number of students who have demonstrated their passion for conservation are bought to South Africa each year to see rhinos and other indigenous wildlife in their natural environment. They are then educated on the effects of the trade in rhino horn and the impact it is having on the survival of the species. On their return to Vietnam, they are tasked with becoming ambassadors / Rhino Heroes in their own country to contribute towards the preservation of the species. We were lucky enough to have met some of these student ambassadors in person, as well as the overall project managers. We were also privileged to meet the projects’ famous ambassador, Thanh Bui, pop idol, and founder of Soul Music Academy in Vietnam.  A totally selfless man who is passionate about wildlife conservation.

9. wild rhino

Save Vietnam’s Wildlife

We also took the time to see first hand the conservation, rescue, rehab and release work of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife. Another incredibly successful organisation that we support, founded and managed by Thai Nguyen Van who focuses on the preservation of pangolins and other small mammals.  OAT contributed to the build of their Pangolin quarantine quarters and we saw many precious pangolins in this facility. They were in the final stage of their rehabilitation programme being prepared for final release 😀 Pangolins are one of the most trafficked mammals in the world and Thai and his team do an incredible job.  They also have a first class education centre which we thoroughly enjoyed visiting.

10. SVW

After a full days work visiting many aspects of the project we enjoyed a collaborative gathering of OAT, Save Vietnam’s Wildlife and Animals Asia 👍😀

11. cheers


This visit to Asia was an emotional experience, especially for my sister Sue, who established our family trust 3 years ago to help animals in need.  It really bought home to her and us the true extent of suffering that animals endure at the hands of human exploitation. Having said this, it was also very inspirational seeing first hand the work that amazing people and organisations do to combat the suffering and effect positive change in peoples attitude to animal welfare and conservation. It really reinforced our commitment to support such organisations, and to coin an Animals Asia phrase, “until the cruelty ends…”

Two more blogs to follow up shortly. One relating to my recent return to the Chimpanzee Conservation Centre in Guinea and shortly thereafter, a trip to Zambia to visit the Elephant Orphanage Project 👍



16 thoughts on “Family Trip to Asia

  1. We have the greatest respect and admiration for the incredible contribution the Olsen family contribute to these amazing projects to protect our wildlife who so richly deserve their dedication.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The ‘hard to see’ is so horrific and even more traumatic in ‘flesh’, but the work you guys are supporting for the ‘good to see’ is quite incredible. You guys not only rock you, more importantly, change the world to a better place. A lesson to us all…….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great job Dave! You are so lucky of having the chance of helping so many animals that really need to be helped! Still too much to do everywhere! Amazing what OAT is doing!!! 👍💪👏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words Olga. Like you we are also trying our best to make a difference. We appreciate your kind words as well as the encouragement.
      I hope you are well 👍.


  4. Thanks Dave, i enjoy getting these blogs.

    On Mon, 4 Jun 2018 15:22 The ‘Oke’ On The Ground for the Olsen Animal Trust, wrote:

    > oatoke posted: “So far it’s been a very busy year for OAT on the travel > front! We have visited numerous projects we support in both Asia and > Africa and its been great to have the rest of the family with me on some of > the trips. Animals Asia Myself, Sue and Jonathan ki” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi pleasure,
      Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, we are all trying our best to make a difference.
      I hope you are well 👍


  5. It is very encouraging to know that there are such amazingly kind people in the world, all working towards alleviating the suffering of animals. Carol has told us of the your generous sponsorship to such a worthy cause. The world is a better place because of people like you.
    Howard & Pam Morley
    South Africa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Howard & Pam,
      Thank you both for taking the time to read my blog and also for taking an interest in what we do. The world of conservation is a mess right now but we at OAT are doing our bit to try and make a difference and we believe we are. We believe the tide is starting to turn and we need to keep up the momentum. The key is to share widely what the issues are that our animals and their habitat are currently are facing (education is key). Habitat loss in the current day is the biggest threat to our wildlife so working together collectively is a key factor in saving and protecting our wild areas and there aren’t many left. How we stop humans expanding at the rate we currently are is a question I haven’t yet heard an appropriate answer to.
      Thank you both again for following my blog as well as taking the time to read it and thank you for your words of encouragement. Please say Hi to Carol & the Italian 😉.


  6. We really enjoy reading your blogs Dave and learn so much from your trips. You have many unique experiences (some heartbreaking and others heartwarming, thankfully). Keep sharing and educating us all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your really kind words Rae & Rob. We are all trying our best and appreciate very much the support from our friends along the way. It may look mostly glamorous from the outside but my trips are mostly heart breaking and emotionally draining. However, this only makes me and OAT team more motivated to make a difference. Thank you again for taking the time to comment and follow my blog 😁👍


  7. How wonderful the next generation of Olsens are involved in your campaigning work. You see such horrors, but inspiring things too, that we can share with your blogs. Keep on doing what you are doing.


  8. Your travels to China and Vietnam will stay in your hearts forever. We know that all the good you do together with those on the ground contribute so much to the preservation of the animals in need. From experience, the younger generation will definately follow your passions and continue this necessary and valuable work. As always “THANK YOU”.


  9. Dear Olsen Family Trust, I am a proud member of Olivers Army, Animals Asia and will be until be dying breath. I just wanted to say thank you so much from myself to you for your generous help to Animals Asia. Ever since I became a member of Olivers Army, my life has become enriched in so many ways, I feel I have to be as brave as Oliver Bear and and many hundreds of bears held tight in coffin cages in china and vietnam, I am so proud to be with Animals asia and I have read recently all the generous help that your family so kindly gives to animals asia and of course all animal charities. Thank you to your family from mine. God bless, Lilly. xx


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