Mission to save moon bears

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 June, 2007, 12:00am

A group of Form Two students from HKMA David Li Kwok Po College are raising money for Animals Asia Foundation (AAF) to save moon bears in mainland farms.

AAF - a Hong Kong-based charity - is dedicated to ending cruelty and restoring respect for animals.

This year, the organisation hopes to rescue 500 moon bears from farms in China.

AAF will work with Chinese authorities and the public to end the practice of raising the bears for medicinal purposes.

The moon bear is also known as the Asiatic black bear.

It is listed as vulnerable on the World Conservation Union's Red List of Threatened Animals.

Moon bears are threatened by a loss of habitat and hunting, especially for their gall bladder, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Saddened by the plight of the bears, the 39 students are determined to save them.

'After our teacher showed us pictures of the moon bears suffering in cramped cages, we felt terribly sorry. We have decided to raise money by organising events. The school was very supportive,' said one of the student organisers, Chloe Law.

The students kicked off their fund-raising effort by taking part in a sponsored 10-kilometre hike near Tseun Wan last month.

They also organised various fund-raising activities during their lunch break over the past month.

Last week, they sold hand-made greeting cards in the playground. The cards, decorated with pictures of bears and colourful ribbons, were so popular that they were sold out. This week, they will raise money by selling photos of their schoolmates in bear costumes.

'It was the students' idea to hold these events. We started our work in April, and we're going to have a drama night on July 7. The proceeds from ticket sales will all go to the charity,' said Jennifer Steventon, the school's English teacher.

Form Two student Ramon Romano said: 'The charitable venture helps the bears and provides a valuable lesson for us. Our class has been divided into three groups with different activities. We learn to co-operate with each other and cope with unexpected problems.'

The group has raised HK$15,000, but their target is HK$27,000. The money will go towards rescuing moon bears from farms on the mainland and in Vietnam.

For more information, contact Joe Hung at 2626 9100

Gigi is a Young Post intern