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Pollyanna Pickering’s VIETNAM ADVENTURE


Tam Dao is unlike any place I have ever visited.


At 1,100m above sea level, it sits on the steep upper slopes of a mountain, enveloped in cloud for most of the year. Driving up the narrow twisty road into the swirling mists feels like driving to a hidden kingdom in a fairy story - the land at the top of the beanstalk. Tall narrow buildings in confectionary colours are clustered together, a picture perfect bride poses for photographs in the rain soaked church yard of a French catholic church, doll like and fragile as the ruffled train of her white dress trails in the mud. Occasionally the clouds part and we can see the three peaks which give the area its name - densely covered in vegetation, so thick it appears as a tangled black mass. Then another cloud will rise up the mountainside, wisps of mist curling past our faces until the landscape again vanishes. Everything here is saturated. The blankets on our small wooden beds in the hill station feel soggy, and chill where they touch. The wooden doors are slick with a layer of condensation. Even the flamboyant oil painted landscape on the wall of our room is growing a healthy layer of mould. The communities living lower on the mountainside rarely see Tam Dao - just occasionally when the clouds lift it appears like a mirage on the mountain top.


Jill Robinson presented Pollyanna with the most wonderful souvenir of her visit – a paw print made by Polly Bear!


We are here as it is the closest town to the Animals Asia Sanctuary where we hope to meet Polly, one of their resident moon bears. The Pollyanna Pickering Foundation was able to fund Polly's rescue from an illegal bile farm in the southern province of Binh Duong, near Ho Chi Minh City, and with the help of our supporters, continues to fund Polly's ongoing care at the sanctuary.


Pollyanna was able to be part of Polly bear's story from the very beginning – news of 14 bears awaiting rescue in Vietnam came through while Pollyanna was sitting having a cup if tea with Jill Robinson, the founder of Animals Asia in their sanctuary in China. Through the Foundation Pollyanna was able to provide funding for the rescue of one of the bears – and able to follow the details of the rescue and Polly's journey every step of the way.


“Having seen the images of the dark claustrophobic shipping containers where Polly had been living on the bile farm, and knowing of the unbelievable agony he must have suffered during the bile extractions, it was just amazing to finally come face to face with 'our' bear, and see him looking so happy, healthy and relaxed” Pollyanna commented. When Pollyanna arrived, Polly was reclining in his favorite hammock – but he sat up to have a good look at his visitor, before stretching and then settling back for another doze. “It was a very emotional moment seeing Polly” Pollyanna said “I truly believe that of all the pain and cruelty humans inflict on animals, the farming of bears for bile has to be the worst. I am so grateful that through the incredible work carried out by Animals Asia, my Foundation and all our supporters have been able to give this beautiful bear the opportunity to live out the rest of his life in peace and comfort, free from pain and abuse.”


Pollyanna also saw the wonderful new enclosure which will become the new home for a group of bears, including Polly. Nestled in the valley below Tam Dao is the “sunshine house” a large area featuring trees, rocks and ponds. Construction is due to be completed in the next few weeks after which Polly will be introduced into his new home.


Jill Robinson arranged to visit the Vietnam sanctuary at the same time as Pollyanna, and the Foundation was delighted to be able to present her with a further cheque for £2,250 – this money will fund Polly's care for the coming 12 months, and also includes a contribution of £1000 towards the building of the Sunshine house.


For a minimum donation of £35.00 you can befriend Polly Bear for one year.


This helps pay for ongoing care, including food, medical care and just as importantly his ongoing enrichment programme, which will provide Polly with special treats like fruit ice blocks, rubber kongs, honey, raisins and tofu-filled bamboo shoots - all of which will keep him stimulated and occupied for hours!


Visit Pollyanna’s website for full details. www.pollyannapickering.co.uk


BE INSPIRATION │KNOWLEDGE


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