Born Free USA Blog
by Will Travers,
Chief Executive Officer
What can you say about a big-hearted bloke who has rescued dolphins, tigers, elephants and more and whose parents once helped a lion cub from a department store by caring for him in their backyard and engineering his rightful return to Africa? You can safely say that he's got great animal instincts! In 1984, Will Travers joined his parents — "Born Free" film stars Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers — to form what became The Born Free Foundation. With knowledge, passion and compassion dripping from his every word, Will's blogs are sure to make you embrace our crusade to Keep Wildlife in the Wild ®.
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.
An “animal film” of sorts that came out this week on DVD/Blue-ray, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” is populated by computer-generated-imagery primates. Not only were no animals harmed in the making of that film — no animals were exploited at all!
Two months ago I applauded the West Hollywood City Council for agreeing to ban the sale of fur. This past Monday, it finalized the ban with a 3-1 vote.
Now I’m clapping even louder. Bravo, West Hollywood, for being the first municipality in the nation to take such a stance against fur “fashion”!
“The Spitfire” has been extinguished.
Umoya, about 21 years old, was an African elephant who eight years ago undertook a long, arduous flight to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park from Swaziland. On Thursday morning she died in the park’s exhibit area. An official there blamed the death on “some sort of aggressive interaction with another elephant.”