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Written in memory of a beautiful creature.
This is the letter Dr Jill Robinson sent to the supporters of the Animals Asia Foundation when Andrew passed away earlier this year.
Thursday, 9th February 2006
Tragically, February saw our beloved Andrew's last Spring. Taken from us by the ravages of liver cancer - a killer we know so well and believe is connected with the massive infection originating on the bear farms. No words can explain our grief, but Andrew's death has united us all with the determination that he will never die in vain. Our noble, forgiving, gentle giant who will live in our hearts forever.
For those of you who have shared our special moments with the bears over the years, I'm so sorry to pass on the sad, sad news that we said goodbye to our number one ambassador, three-legged Andrew, (Anderloo as he is named in Chinese), on Thursday, 9th February 2006.
Following a month of eating less and sleeping more, Andrew had a health check and ultrasound which revealed that something was horribly wrong. Our Vets, Kati and Phill, began abdominal surgery and found the most aggressive and ugly cancer I have ever seen in my life. The removed tumour, weighing 7.3kgs surpassed anything we have seen before and, because the liver was so terribly affected (with approximately 5% of its normal function remaining), Andrew's blood wasn't able to clot and he had been slowly bleeding to death.
Even on Wednesday, he ate more than he'd eaten the whole week before; those soft gentle lips pursing for another slice of tomato, a second tub of yogurt and a blueberry muffin, causing us to wonder for a second whether we were right to bring his surgery forward. So many variables are involved - and in the past we have felt surgery essential, only to find nothing medically wrong as the bears have entered a "normal" pattern of lethargic, inappetant behaviour associated with hibernation of the species in the wild.
Yet, it was the killer we know so well... liver cancer; possibly originating from a tumour factor of aggressive cells connected with the massive infection from damage caused on the farms - the demon that lurked silently in Andrew's body, waiting for the chance to strike.
No words can ever explain the grief everyone here is feeling - we cremated and buried our mighty Andrew at 6pm last evening, with local TV cameras and the San Francisco Chronicle recording another chapter in bear farming history - an outpouring of anger and sadness which is difficult to describe even now, but which united everyone here in the conviction and determination that Andrew will never die in vain.
I know too that this will be a horribly sad message for those of you who loved Andrew and enjoyed all the updates about his life over the past five and a half years. Andrew was so much more than our ambassador, our friend.... he was the bear who began it all; our noble, forgiving, gentle giant who will live in our hearts forever.
Someone has written: "You are not weaker without Andrew, you are stronger because of him." And we are.
R.I.P. Anderloo, we love you.
Jill Robinson MBE
Founder &amp; CEO
Animals Asia Foundation
Your spirit lives in our hearts
They tried to take you all apart
Oh the darkness of man
Is a stain on all humanity
But still you make us smile
Your sweet memory...
Your lovely picture on our wall
And from you we hear the call
If we could we'd make it right
Still for you the peaceful fight
Your spirit lives in us all
And from you we hear the call
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