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 ®.
You would think that after Travis the chimpanzee attacked Charla Nash in Connecticut that every state in the country would immediately prohibit the keeping of chimpanzees and other wild animals as pets. And that the U.S. Congress would follow suit by passing the Captive Primate Safety Act. How many incidents will it take before lawmakers — at all levels of government — act?
This morning I saw video footage of a chimpanzee, privately owned in Missouri, on the loose — knocking around a trash bin, jumping on a police car and breaking the windshield, wandering unfettered with no means of control.
News reports suggest that this animal — now reportedly some 300 pounds — has had problems for 15 years: getting loose, biting people, etc.!
One can’t blame chimpanzees for acting wild. They are wild animals. Obviously, they belong in the wild.
And the case of this animal, named Sueko, exposes the real problem with the authorities. Instead of doing the right thing unequivocally, instead of simply declaring that wild and potentially dangerous animals don’t belong in private hands in communities across America where unwitting people, including children, could potentially be harmed, the decision is made is to require that exotic pets are registered, or that such animals can be kept, provided they remain outside city limits.
Wild animals can escape. Wild animals can move from town to town once free. Wild animals can hurt people. Wild animals can suffer. From coast to coast across America it’s time for everyone — citizens and legislators alike — to take a stand. No more wild animals as pets.