Statement of Adam M. Roberts, Executive Vice President, Born Free USA, on the Petition to List the African Lion as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act
Good morning. My name is Adam Roberts and I am the executive vice president of Born Free USA, based here in Washington, D.C. I am speaking to you on behalf of both Born Free USA and our counterpart in England, the Born Free Foundation.
The Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. §1531, et seq.) (ESA) is America’s most powerful wildlife conservation and protection law. The ESA is administered by two federal agencies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Its primary purpose is to conserve endangered and threatened species and their ecosystems.
There are eight species of bears in the world and at least 44 “extant taxa,” meaning distinct subspecies, or “races.”
A subspecies is a group of animals who are, within the species they belong to, distinctly similar to each other but different, usually in very subtle ways, from other members of the species. Where their populations overlap with another subspecies, they freely interbreed.
The brown bear is almost always called the “grizzly” bear in both Canada and the United States, although one race, found on Kodiak and nearby islands in Alaska, often is popularly known as the “Kodiak bear.”
Surely one of the most iconic species of wildlife to inhabit Canada is the polar bear. Along with the beaver, moose, loon, eagle and wolf it is among the native wildlife species most often portrayed and easily identified by Canadians. But very few Canadians have seen one outside of zoos. Those who have are often eco-tourists who have made the trek to Churchill, Manitoba, on the west shore of Hudson Bay, which is an immense inland sea of 822,324 square kilometers (about 320,000 square miles). Polar bears move up and down that shoreline, their numbers often concentrated in and around the town of Churchill, in the province’s far northeast.
The American black bear is the most “successful” of the modern bears. Indeed, with a very roughly estimated population of about 900,000, there are something like three times more American black bears in the world than there are individuals of all other bear species combined.
From Animal Issues, Volume 40 Number 4, Winter 2009
Are we prepared to return to the killing fields of the 1970s and 1980s, when hundreds of thousands of elephant carcasses littered the African savannah, their faces literally sawn off for their bloody ivory tusks?
From Animal Issues, Volume 40 Number 3, Fall 2009
The past 8 to 12 months have certainly been very busy at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary. As I told you when I introduced myself, we recently completed a new, lush 2.5 acre enclosure for our group of baboons. Initially, I was most concerned about one of our older olive baboons, Boon, and his adjustment to the new surroundings following the 2008 death of his longtime companion, Holly. But Boon is thriving and when he’s not busy roaming the dense underbrush foraging for snacks he can be found perched stoically atop a large fallen tree — free to be a baboon.