Born Free USA Blog
by Adam M Roberts,
Chief Executive Officer
When it comes to animals, Adam Roberts not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk. Since beginning his animal advocacy career in Washington, D.C. in 1991, Adam's ambition, tireless involvement, and profound knowledge of conservation and wildlife issues have cemented him as a go-to voice for protecting animals — and he has elevated Born Free USA to the respected and impactful organization that we know today. Adam's compassionate, informed, and forward-thinking blogs will surely motivate you to join us in our fight to Keep Wildlife in the Wild.
I am shocked (somewhat) and saddened (greatly) by breaking news of an elephant massacre in Cameroon, Central Africa, where at least 480 elephants have been killed in recent weeks in Boubou Ndjida National Park, a park official told Agence France-Presse on Thursday.
China has 1.35 billion citizens. That is a lot of consumers, and their appetite for shark fins, ivory and bear bile — resources that are extracted in excruciatingly cruel manner throughout the world, placing the survival of some of the planet’s most distinguished species at great risk — cannot continue to grow. In fact, it must decrease soon, and preferably disappear altogether.
The Giants played the Patriots in the Super Bowl, but I would have been more interested had it been Bears vs. Dolphins, Lions vs. Jaguars or Rams vs. Broncos. (What can I say? I’m partial to animal names.)
What Americans call “football” is fun, I’m sure, but I am not qualified to comment on Sunday’s game. I do, though, want to comment on some of the advertisements during Sunday’s TV broadcast. From an animal protectionist’s perspective, there was good, bad, ugly and … well, mixed bag.
This week, we helped save another monkey’s life. That alone means we had a very good week.
The adult male rhesus macaque who had been cruelly confined to a small cage and treated as a roadside attraction in Mississippi now begins a new life at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary, where he will learn how to truly be a monkey for the first time in his life. We are grateful to The Humane Society of the United States for having uncovered this cruelty and engineered the rescue, and we are thrilled to be able to give the macaque a new, infinitely less confining lease on life.
TV and film personality Rosie O’Donnell is in hot water with environmentalists and wildlife advocates in the wake of a family outing off Miami Beach. The Sun-Sentinel reported she and her kids went fishing, and produced a photograph showing them standing (and beaming) around the corpse of a hammerhead shark hanging by a giant hook.
Often I have written about the dangers, significantly traceable to human activities of varying force, faced by the African elephant — about how just a few decades ago there were around 1.3 million in the wild but today that number has plummeted to around 450,000.
For me and billions of other human beings, the end of one year and beginning of another marks a time for celebration, reflection and resolve.
At Born Free USA, however, we are keenly aware that as we replace calendars, try to remember to write “2012” in our correspondences and so forth, wildlife have no such calendrical concerns. To them, Jan. 1 is pretty much the same as Dec. 31 — or Dec. 30 or Jan. 2, for that matter. Captive exotic animals also are oblivious to human traditions: Circus elephants don’t light Chanukah candles, “pet” monkeys don’t color Easter eggs and caged parrots don’t eat hotdogs while watching fireworks. There’s a popular parting shot among members of our office in Sacramento when they scatter for the holidays: “Have fun, but remember: The animals don’t get the day off!”
Talk about ridiculous!
Earlier this month a man from the Czech Republic tried to board a flight in Argentina, but his suitcase was found to contain almost 250 live animals, including poisonous snakes and endangered reptiles. Two of the animals were dead, and the rest probably would have succumbed had they been forced to endure an oxygen-starved flight in cargo.