Born in the UK, Jill Robinson arrived in Hong Kong in 1985 and spent the next 12 years working in Asia as a consultant for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Repeatedly faced with scenes of widespread animal cruelty, Jill decided to introduce the concept of “animal welfare through people welfare” and founded “Dr Dog” in Hong Kong in 1991 — the first animal-therapy programme of its kind in Asia.

Today, over 250 dogs and their dedicated volunteers make regular visits to hospitals, disabled centres, schools and elderly homes in 10 cities across Asia, spreading warmth and love to people in need, while promoting companion animals as our friends and helpers.

In 1993, a chance visit to a bear farm in southern China changed Jill's life. Exposing the plight of endangered Asiatic black bears (also known as moon bears) cruelly farmed and milked for their bile, and learning how easily herbs and synthetics could replace bear bile, Jill embarked on a journey to end the practice of bear farming once and for all.

In 1995, she secured the release of the original bears she had discovered in 1993. In 1998, she founded Animals Asia and in July 2000 she and the Animals Asia team signed a breakthrough agreement with the Chinese authorities to rescue 500 farmed bears and work towards promoting herbal alternatives to bile and the elimination of bear farming.

In 2006, Animals Asia signed an agreement with the Vietnam government to rescue 200 bears.

Today, the Moon Bear Rescue has seen the rescue of 365 bears — 277 in China and 88 in Vietnam. Animals Asia’s Moon Bear Rescue sanctuaries are spearheading far-reaching community, education and welfare programmes, which benefit both animals and people alike.

Jill is a Council Member of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS) Herbal Committee, a former member of the Hong Kong Government’s Animal Welfare Advisory Group and an Honorary Adviser to the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong.

Awards and commendations

1995: Jill was presented with the Readers Digest “Hero for Today” award.

1998: Jill was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth in the Birthday HonoursList, in recognition of her services to animal welfare in Asia.

2002: Jill was presented with the USA Genesis Award (the only major media and arts award concerning animal issues).

2005: Jill won the Marchig Animal Welfare Award for lifetime achievement in animal welfare.

2006: Jill was awarded the Winsome Constance Kindness Trust Gold Medal for Humanitarian Service.

2007: Jill was presented with the St Francis of Assisi Award by the Auckland New Zealand Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

2008: Jill was named “Outstanding Earth Champion” in Hong Kong and was appointed World Animal Day Ambassador for Asia.

2009: Jill was awarded medals from the Mayor of Genoa and Vice President of the Regional Council symbolisingthe support and gratitude of the Italian government in recognition of services to animal welfare in Asia.

2010: Jill was awarded the Gold Medal of Naples by the Mayor’s representative in Italy and elected as Member of the Society of Woman Geographers in the USA.

2010: Jill was awarded a "You Bring Charm to China” award at a ceremony held by Phoenix Satellite Television and Tianjin TV to recognise12 prominent foreign people that have enriched life in China through their contribution to business, education, medical care, disaster relief and environmental protection.

2010: Jill was awarded with the 2010 Carole Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence for Animals Asia’s moon bear rescue centresin China and Vietnam, by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS).

2011: Jill was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

2011: Jill was awarded the RSPCA UK’s William Wilberforce Award in the RSPCA Honours.


Jill has given hundreds of presentations throughout the world and has been interviewed by CNN, GMTV, Channel 5 (UK), Sky News, BBC News, “Woman's Hour” and the USA’s National Public Radio and Voice of America. The China

Bear Rescue was the subject of the award-winning British “Really Wild Show Special”, which screened in January 2003, and Animals Asia’s own in-house film, “China Bear Rescue … the beginning”, has won countless awards worldwide. Most recently, Jill was featured in Animals Planet’s one-hour special Moon Bears: Journey to Freedom narrated by Stephen Fry.

Animals Asia Foundation 

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