There are some really inspiring people around in the animal world.
Free the Bears rescue sun and moon bears from the most dreadful conditions and look after them in their sanctuaries in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. You may have seen the charity on the programme Bears About the House on BBC2 with Giles Clark back in 2020.
In 2020, the coronavirus put an abrupt halt to any of the normal fundraising activities the charity undertakes to raise funds to care for the bears. So they asked bear lovers around the world to help raise funds by spending a night in a cage!
51 bear lovers took part - and the amazing thing is that they raised enough funds to pay for the care of 240 rescued bears for two months by spending a night in a cage!
Cher’s charity Free the Wild helped to rescue an Asian Elephant from the Islamabad’s Marghazar Zoo, and relocate the elephant too.
Kaavan was in a terrible state in the zoo
Cher travelled to Pakistan to help save Kaavan. The poor elephant had spent years chained up in Islamabad’s zoo, and he has been alone since 2012 when his partner died.
Kaavan became obese because of a poor diet and he has behavioural issues. Visitors to the zoo noticed Kaavan’s physical and psychological deterioration and they began to raise concerns over his wellbeing.
The public started to raise awareness
The zoo management took no action, and so the people of Pakistan and Anika Sleem and her colleagues at Team Kaavan began to campaign online, so as to raise awareness of the situation Kaavan was in.
Cher got involved …
These campaigns reached Cher and she sought to help him which led her to Mark Cowne and his wife Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne, both life-long conservationists.
The three of them formed Free the Wild to help Kaavan and other wild animals in captivity who are suffering. In 2016, the battle to relocate him began and in 2020, he was finally relocated to an animal sanctuary in Cambodia.
Kaavan was free to go to Cambodia
Dr Frank Goeritz, one of the world’s leading elephant veterinary experts, travelled with Kaavan who handled the 23 hour, 4,000km journey to Cambodia well. He went by road and air to the one million acre Kulen-Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary. Volunteers and staff work to protect the natural habitat for a range of species. And Kaavan the elephant is lonely no more.
The zoo has now closed due to the way its animals were treated and its grounds are due to be a conservation area.
Islamabad’s zoo is now closed… Final evacuations
In December 2020, FOUR PAWS evacuated the last two animals, Himalayan brown bears Suzie and Bubloo. They went by plane from Parkistan to Jordan where they will have a home at the “Al Ma'wa for Nature and Wildlife” sanctuary – run by the Princess Alia Foundation and FOUR PAWS. There are no more animals left in the zoo in Islamabad, which is finally. Find out more about Suzie and Bubloo closing its gates for good.
Please help bears in India at International Animal Rescue’s sanctuaries
International Animal Rescue has an urgent appeal for help for their bears in India. The COVID-19 crisis is critical there – as you may have seen from the news.
Essential bear supplies are disrupted
IAR is raising emergency funds to help their Indian sanctuaries to get through the next few months. Some of their team has tested positive for COVID-19 and although extra manpower has been brought in, there is the possibility that sanctuaries may be short staffed. Not only that, the transport system has been disrupted and that causes issues to medical and food supplies.
Bears have needs throughout the day
The bears must have a healthy, nutritious diet. This includes honey (of course!), porridge and lots of fruit.
The staff arrive at about five in the morning to start preparing breakfast porridge, and the bears have their breakfast at 6am. The staff make sure the bears are kept well fed during the day, as well as undertaking other bear necessities!
As the pandemic has spread, the bare caregivers themselves are becoming ill – and that means the bears may not get the food they need throughout the day.
IAR needs donations for the bear sanctuaries
IAR is asking for donations, to help its bear sanctuaries at this desperate time and to make sure there are enough critical supplies to get them through the next few months.
3 to 4 oxygen concentrators and about 10 oxygen cylinders as critical care for the staff as some have tested positive for COVID-19
Medicines and food supplies for the next few months so that the sanctuaries can get through the next few months
PPE supplies such as kits and masks to keep the staff safe
IAR say that supplies are becoming more difficult to get. The bears need help and so do those who care for them.
Learning from the first wave of COVID-19
There is already a strict curfew and lockdown in Delhi. IAR sanctuary staff are using animal ambulances to move food and medicines for the animals at the bear rescue centres. Last year, the first COVID-19 wave blocked supply chains and sent food and medicine prices rocketing – and the sanctuaries want to avoid that happening again.