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Hiya lovelies!

Friday 21st May marks National Endangered Species Day, we have asked our lovely customer Danielle Thompson (@danilee1969), to give us a little insight into her volunteer work at Free the Bears and Wildlife Friends Foundation in South East Asia. 

National Endangered Species Day is celebrated each year on the third Friday of May. The National Wildlife Federation established this day in 1973 to raise awareness about the importance of wildlife conversation for all imperiled species. And as you know, part of our vision for She Loves Blooms is to raise awareness of animal and human rights causes. So we’ve designed a few specific brooches Endangered Animal Species collection to get the conversation flowing. These include the Sun Bears, Langurs, Slow Loris, Pangolin and Leopard Cat.

Additionally, as part of an effort to celebrate National Endangered Species Day, we ask you to get social (FB, Instagram, Tiktok) and share a photo of yourself wearing your endangered species brooches and/or make a small donation to an animal conservation charity of your choice. Please use the hashtag #slbbroochchallenge, and help us spread the word on how we can play our part in protecting these beautiful souls!


Volunteering at Free the Bears and Wildlife Friends Foundation by Danielle Thompson
(Photo credit: Danielle Thompson)
It was a few years ago when I picked up a book called Free The Bears written by Mary Hutton.  A woman who started this incredible foundation that rescues moon and sun bears, that inspired me to want to learn, help educate others and help not only these beautiful animals, but all wildlife.  
(Photo credit: Danielle Thompson)
So my volunteering journey began.  One of my volunteering experience was in the northern part of Thailand at a wildlife centre that rescues wildlife not only that are injured, but were kept as pets, used in tourism, from the illegal pet trade, used for medicine and food.
(Photo credit: Danielle Thompson)
At first I was in awe of the beautiful surroundings I found myself in and excited as to what lay ahead.  These emotions were quickly replaced with such sadness.  So many beautiful animals were here because of what us, as a race had done.  It was hard not to be overwhelmed and shocked by how many animals were there and their stories of how they had come to be there.  But you put all those emotions aside and know that you are there to help and that we can still do things for the better.

(Photo credit: Danielle Thompson)
Being there it was easy to fall in love with all of the animals, but you could not help but have your favourites.  I fell in love with the slow loris, such cute little magical creatures.  Hard to believe they are blind when they moved around with such ease.  I fell in love with their sweet little bugged eyed faces.  And it was a wonderful day when I got to help clean and feed them. 
(Photo credit: Danielle Thompson)
The langurs also became a favourite of mine.  These guys are such clowns.  Always making you laugh.  They would wait for their food bowls with such excitement.    There were many a day walking down to feed them that you would walk under their cages and they would shake their water bowls so that you would get soaked.  I swear they would be laughing at you getting drenched with water.  
(Photo credit: Danielle Thompson)
I then travelled to Cambodia to volunteer at Free The Bears.  Such an emotional experience because it was such a a dream come true for me.  Here I spent time cleaning, feeding and making enrichments for these magnificent moon and sun bears.  To be around these animals was one of the best times I have had.  I could sit and watch them for days.  To see the excitement on their faces as they waited patiently for the treats we had prepared for them. Oh how they love peanut butter and honey.  Watching them lay on their back and they rolled balls on their feet.  It is an experience I will never forget.  
(Photo credit: Danielle Thompson)
But what you have to remember is all these animals are here because they are unable to be released back into the wild.  And yes they are in a safe place, as close to nature as possible, with the best care possible and free from harm, but they dont belong here.  I was shocked to still see tourists queuing up to see shows involving tigers and elephants, getting photos with monkeys who are on chains, waiting at elephant camps for rides.  Seeing these poor animals in such sad conditions was truly heartbreaking.  
(Photo credit: Danielle Thompson)
But it is not too late.  We can still make a change.  We can learn from the past and teach and educate others that this is not the way to do things.  We don't need to see shows involving animals, we don't need to buy a souvenir to take home made of animal skin, we don't need to buy a bottle with snakes in it because it may cure our illnesses.  We don't need to eat bear paw soup.  We need to make it our mission, our job, to protect and look after these animals.  We need to teach people that this is not ok and that we need to change how we do things, how we think, because if we don't, these beautiful creatures will not be around, and we will have nothing left.
(Photo credit: Danielle Thompson)
Volunteering has taught me so much and has made me want to continue to do more.  Because we all need to love, appreciate and want to preserve the beautiful wildlife that exists on this planet.

May 14, 2021 4 min read

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