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Born Free USA Blog
Adam M Roberts

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.

CITES Day 7

Parties remember "the little guy"

Published 03/21/10

It's not all charismatic megafauna at CITES meetings — the 3,000+ tigers left clinging to survival in the wild; elephants, our largest land mammal, assaulted for their tusks; bluefin tuna, a single specimen of which can yield more than a hundred thousand dollars!

Sometimes the little guy takes center stage — AND WINS!

On Sunday the pet trade took a beating and the frogs and lizards of the world won the day.

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CITES Days Off

Pet Shop Cruelty Knows No Borders

Published 03/20/10

We were given two days off from the Conference (a proper weekend, but because of the Muslim schedule it fell on Friday and Saturday) but this did not mean a holiday from cruel treatment of animals.

Some of my colleagues and I spent an afternoon in “the Souq”, a cascading labyrinth of shops selling Middle Eastern spices, rugs, coffee urns, traditional daggers, and souvenirs.

But amidst the shops was a long row of pet stores: stalls selling dogs, cats, fish, rabbits, chipmunks, hamsters, and birds. I’m still not quite sure who is purchasing these sad specimens from their constricting cages. Is it foreigners who live in Doha because their business has taken them to the city? Foreigners who have come here from India, Sri Lanka, or Bangladesh looking for work? Locals?

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CITES Day 6

(VIDEO) End of the Line for Bluefin Tuna?

Published 03/18/10

The Atlantic Bluefin Tuna suffers from overexploitation in legal trade and significant illegal, unregulated and underreported fishing.

This afternoon, CITES Parties overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to give the species much-needed protection in international trade — 20 for, 68 opposed, 30 abstained.

Where is the precautionary principle? Where are the visionaries? Will CITES really wait until the species is commercially extinct before they act? Shame.

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CITES Day 5

Tigers, Trinkets, Soup, and Sushi. Tourism and the Wildlife Trade.

Published 03/17/10

At London’s prestigious Royal Geographical Society on Thursday the 18th of March the Born Free Foundation is hosting an evening talk and discussion (sponsored by Land Rover) considering the interface between the tourism industry and wild animals, both in their natural habitat and in captivity.

Out here at the CITES meeting in Doha, Qatar, we are immersed in issues that concern the international trade in wildlife — ivory, tuna, sharks, and more.

It got me thinking about the species I am working to protect and tourism in the countries that are home to these wildlife populations. The more I thought about it the more clear it all became.

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CITES Day 4

The Benefit of the Doubt

Published 03/17/10

What is it with people appointed to "look after the interests of animals in international trade"?

It seems that whatever the evidence, it always ends up being about what people want, not what animals and species need. CITES can be a bit like that.

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CITES Day 3

(VIDEO) Wildlife Law Enforcement Heroes

Published 03/17/10

On Monday night the Species Survival Network (SSN), a global coalition of 82 organizations working on wildlife trade issues under CITES, held its Reception to honor the recipients of the 2010 Clark R. Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Awards. These awards, named for the pioneering Chief of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's Division of Law Enforcement, recognize outstanding achievements "on the ground" protecting wildlife.

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CITES Day 2

(VIDEO) The Death of Diplomacy?

Published 03/14/10

In an extraordinary, unprecedented, and quite undiplomatic start to CITES CoP 15, a delegate from Botswana moved during plenary to have Proposal 6 removed from the Agenda. This proposal, submitted by Ghana, Mali, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Congo Brazzaville and Liberia, seeks to prevent further ivory trading and maintain the current level of CITES protection for elephants for the next 20 years.

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CITES Day 1

A Call to Action

Published 03/13/10

The 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES officially opened this afternoon in Doha, with thousands of delegates spread throughout the Doha Sheraton Conference Center.

The opening ceremony, filled with ceremonial music and dance, included speeches from the Qatar Minister of the Environment, Abdullah bin Aaboud al-Midhad, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Achim Steiner, and the Secretary-General of CITES, Willem Wijnstekers.

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