Animals Asia sanctuary stays in Vietnam!  »

Animals Asia is the No 1. (if not only) organization that rescues and houses moon bears from the bear bile trade in China and Vietnam, while working to end that awful practice. We love them!

Last year Animals Asia’s $2 million, 29-acre Rescue Center in Tam Dao National Park was threatened with eviction by the Vietnamese government. But they worked it out, and can stay! “Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has concluded that the rescue center’s operation should be maintained, and that construction on the project’s second phase should continue,” said Communications Manager Maya Gottfried.

This is wonderful news not only for the 104 resident bears, but the 77 human employees of the center, as well as the tens of thousands bears being held and milked for their bile in China and Vietnam. Thanks, Vietnam! And thanks to Animals Asia for tireless work on behalf of the bears.

[Photos via Animals Asia]


Dream big, rescued moon bears!  »

Remember this rescue? Pretty rad, right?

Here’s something else rad to build on that radness (rad-squared?): One of the rescued bears, named Dream, is making great progress at Animals Asia's Moon Bear Rescue Center in Vietnam. Upon arrival at the sanctuary, Dream had emergency surgery to fix her awesome bear mouth. Despite missing her left front paw and the right one being deformed and practically unusable, now she's all about eating, especially dried fruit and flavored water.

Bears! They’re just like us! Sending you all our get-well wishes (they’re better than other wishes because they are vegan), Dream and the rest of the bears! I’ll make sure the bear army has a bear infirmary, just in case.

[Photo credit: Animals Asia]


Fourteen moon bears rescued from bile farm; farmer vows to help end bile trade!  »

[The team transferring a bear for transport]

So, this is like, good news, but kind of gross? Fourteen moon bears were rescued from a bile farm in southern Vietnam, so that’s good, but they had a bunch of health problems indicating they might have been taken from the wild and trapped, so that’s gross. Not to mention that 40 bears are still imprisoned on that same farm.

We’ve talked about bile farming before. The main bullet point to take away from this presentation: It’s nasty. But apparently one of the owners of this farm, Mr Nguyen Ngoc Tien, realized the error of his ways and surrendered his share of the bears to Animals Asia rather than selling the bears. Now he’s encouraging other bile farmers to do the same. So, high-five to this guy!

Now the bears are hanging at the Animals Asia Moon Bear Rescue Center outside Hanoi. They’re recovering from fractured teeth, infected mouths, skin conditions, abdominal hernias, obesity, and probably internal damage from the bile farming practice. Go, bears, go! You’re needed in the bear army!

If you want to help, you can donate to Animals Asia’s bear rescue efforts or sponsor a bear!


Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »

It has been hot outside, you guys! You know what’s worse than a mid-autumn heat wave? A low-grade fever during a mid-autumn hot wave. That way, you don’t know whether the heat is coming from outside or whether it’s your body boiling the evil little monsters that are giving you the sore throat and that light-headed feeling that makes walking an extreme sport. Really keeps you on your toes!

You know what else keeps you on your toes? Wild hamsters! Listen, I don’t know if you know this, but I love hamsters. I became a vegetarian because I picked a hamster up off the street. In my day (before grad school/Allen/anti-psychotics came along), I ran quite a little menagerie out of my room—not apartment, room—which culminated in the Mouspice, a hospice for mice. I mean, I pretty much had every rodent available up in my hizzay. Hamsters were (and still are) my absolute favorite animal. They’re adorable, resourceful, and fucking vicious—to me, a charming quality—and these are just ordinary house-hamsters. Wild hamsters, friend, are a completely different story. They will take down anything, including Russian teenagers out for a good time. You just don’t mess with them. Actually, here’s an even better idea. Don’t mess with any wild animals no matter how small they are. And if you do, don’t complain that they bite you really really hard. That’s what small animals do! That’s how they defend themselves! Have you ever wondered why a small animal’s first reaction when you reach into its cage is to bite the hell out of your hand? it’s because your hand is huge and the animal is tiny. And that’s why you leave hamsters alone.

In related news, I was at the bookstore with Allen last week when he gasped and thrust a book in front of my face. Usually when Allen does this, it is because he has found another obscure book about how to do pushups ergonomically or how to activate your chakras with hypnosis, so I was surprised to find that it was actually a book I might be interested in. Allen was surprise by my elbow in his ribs. Like hamsters, I also react dramatically to sudden book attacks. Anyway, the book, Happy Hamster, is about cooking for your hamster, as opposed to cooking your hamster, which is apparently something some people do. I was on the bus once when a woman offered me $10 for my hamster and then started rubbing her belly suggestively. Since it was obvious that she didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak whatever language hamster-eaters speak, I grimaced in horror and screamed “NO! NO EAT HAMSTER!”* “Ten Dollar!” the woman shrieked at me and continued rubbing her stomach. I freaked out and got off the bus 10 blocks before my stop. And that’s how that story ended. Check out Hamster Tracker, though. There are some adorable pictures there!

Good news! A new-self cloning lizard has been discovered! Female lizards are finding they need male lizards even less than a fish needs a bicycle because a newly discovered species of lizard can clone themselves! Bad news! The lizard is on the menu of a restaurant in Vietnam. That sucks! Why do people have to eat lizards? I think I ask a question like that every week and offer absolutely no answer. Probably because there isn’t one. There aren’t any reasons to eat lizards, especially if you’re getting them from a restaurant. Thanks for the downer, Meave!

Also: In a scene straight out of Mary Poppins, porpoises rescued Dick Van Dyke from drowning! Apparently Bert was so tired after his magical penguin picnic on an enchanted island with Jane and Michael that he fell asleep while surfing back to land (tip: If you’re falling asleep on your surfboard, it is probably time to take up a different leisure activity). When he woke up, he was adrift and land was nowhere to be seen. Then, porpoises GENTLY NUDGED HIM TO SHORE. THIS IS SIMULTANEOUSLY CRY AND VOMIT UP A RAINBOW IT IS SO ADORABLE! I told you Dick Van Dyke was good people. I bet the porpoises wouldn’t have saved Sarah Palin.

That’s all for this week! Send me tips for next week and have an awesome day! OH AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY YESTERDAY, ALLEN! You’re the best!

*I don’t know why I burst into broken English, but I assume it is a leftover reflex from the time I spent living with Elvira, a real-life Peruvian witch with whom I had to communicate only in broken English. Last time I ever innocently answer a roommate-wanted ad.

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