Mary can’t bear the suffering

The 76-year-old Stirling resident has been saving bears for the past 22 years since she founded Free the Bears in 1993.

In that time, Mary has successfully put an end to the dancing bear tourist trade in India, rescued sun and Asiatic black bears, constructed sanctuaries in three countries and she is not stopping there.

�In Cambodia we managed to build quite a few sanctuaries, just outside Phnom Penh at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre,� Mary said.

�We have come a long way since we first visited Cambodia in 1998 and have built many sanctuaries for sun bears and Asiatic black bears. Many of those bears come from the illegal wildlife trade, markets and restaurants where they had their paws chopped off for soup,� she said.

Mary is a key speaker at the Perth Zoo�s Wild Women event this week with all proceeds going to help Perth Zoo save wildlife.

�Our next project will be to build a new bear sanctuary in Vietnam, which will cost about half a million dollars, so we will be looking for sponsors and donations.

�People are welcome to individually sponsor a bear for a year or six months and follow their progress,� she said.

Mary will speak to the audience at Perth Zoo about some of the progress the organisation has made but also about the work that still has to be done.

�There are still about 10,000 of these bears farmed for their bile in China today,� Mary said.

�The Chinese use it for medicinal purposes and sell it in liquid or crystal form as they think it will help with hepatitis, leukaemia and all sorts of cures.

�There is still a huge market for it, they give it away in flights in China and soap and shampoos, so we are still working on that.�

Mary says she will be updating people about the bears the organisation has rescued which now live peaceful lives in many countries around the world, including Perth Zoo.

Free the Bears moved two sun bears to Perth in 2007 which later gave birth to a cub

What: Wild Women

When: Wednesday 27th May

Time 11:45am – 1:45pm

Cost: $125

Guest speakers and prizes and giveaways