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Nigel Gray & Cedric Baxter
There are eight species of bears in the world. Polar Bears are the largest; Sun Bears are the smallest. The bears in this book are Asiatic Black Bears. They are called Moon Bears because, on their chest, they have a cream or yellow blaze, like a crescent moon.
Bears nearly always give birth to twins.
Moon Bears love to eat fruit, nuts and bamboo. They like fish, too, and are good at fishing. But most of all, they love honey.
Moon Bears are a threatened species: their number in the wild is dwindling each year.
A fully grown male Moon Bear stands more than six feet tall. In the bile farms they are kept in cages that are no more than one and a half metres long. The top of the cage can be lowered and is used to crush the bear onto the bottom of the cage to make it easier for the farmer to collect the bile.
Moon Bears are the bears most commonly exploited for their bile. Bile is a fluid in humans and other animals that collects in the gall bladder. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine, even though the prized ingredient in bile can be obtained from fifty-five different herbs and plants, and can be made synthetically. There is no need for the bears’ suffering.
The bears are often trapped when they are cubs. Many are amputees. Some bears have survived for more than twenty years in crush cages, before their misery has been ended by their death.
You can find out more about the Bear Rescue Campaign on the Animals Asia web site www.animalsasia.org. You might even like to “Befriend a Bear”.
Nigel Gray is an internationally-acclaimed Irish-born West Australian author. Some sixty of his more than seventy books have been for children. His work has been published in twenty-six countries and twenty-four languages.
His books have won awards and honours in Holland, Germany, France, the UK, the USA and Australia. He is a past winner of the Dickens' Fellowship Award, and the Irish Post Award for literature. He has taught numerous writing workshops in schools, colleges, universi ties, libraries, arts centres, writer's centres, centres for the unemployed, and prisons.
Nigel lives with wife, Yasmin, in Kalamunda, a small town in the hills outside Perth, the capital of Western Australia.
Read more about Nigel here.