A VETERINARY nurse has left Monmouthshire for China to care for more than 150 endangered bears rescued from the horrors of bile farms.
Adina Valentine, ex-head nurse at Monmouth’s Monnow Bridge veterinary surgery, accepted a job at Animals Asia’s bear rescue sanctuary near Chengdu, Sichuan province.
The sanctuary looks after bears who have previously been kept in tiny cages and milked for their bile, which is used in traditional Asian medicine to treat anything from hangovers to haemorrhoids.
The 27-year-old, fromUndy, spent Christmas and New Year getting accustomed to her new job, which involves looking after the animals in their pain-free home.
Animals Asia says in China the bile is removed through rusting metal catheters implanted deep into the gall bladders of the bears or via permanently open infected holes in their abdomens, sometimes for around 30 years.
It says the animals usually have no free access to water and limited food supplies.
The charity is working with the Chinese and Vietnamese governments to close down bear bile farms.
So far it has rescued 381 bears in those countries and moved them to its sanctuaries.
Ms Valentine, who previously worked at Bristol Zoo, learned of their plight during a lecture given by the British Veterinary Zoological Society and decided to help.
“It has been a bit of a culture shock moving to China and I miss my family and friends, but it is all worth while,” she said.
“I am incredibly lucky to have this opportunity.”