As of November 10, 2016, Annemarie Weegenaar has taken office as the new director for Bears in Mind. José Kok has returned to Ouwehand Zoo and is appointed as Zoology Manager for the zoo.
After a career of 17 years in Southeast Asia, Annemarie returns to her native country of the Netherlands to resume her passion for working with and for bears. She started working with captive polar bears in Singapore early in her career, after which she moved to Borneo to work with Sun bears in the conservation education centre in Balikpapan, together with Gabriella Fredriksson. Her next step brought her to China to work for Animals Asia in their bear rescue centre in Chengdu. Animals Asia is the main animal welfare NGO fighting to end bear bile farming in SE Asia. The last eight years Annemarie worked in Vietnam where she and her team set up the Tam Dao centre for rescued bears from bile farms. Tam Dao will be able to house as many as 200 former 'bile bears'.
"The Bear Forest and the projects by Bears in Mind are very inspirational to me and I'm looking forward to work with the experienced and enthusiastic team to protect wild bears and their habitat, and rescue captive bears in need.", says the newly appointed director.