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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.

Pet a Cheetah and Live With the Consequences

Published 05/07/12

“It’s obviously very unfortunate.”

That’s what the man in charge said after two cheetahs in his South African reserve attacked a visitor for three minutes, leaving her with multiple lacerations on her head, stomach and legs, and the loss of “a lot of blood.” The victim, a Scottish woman who was celebrating turning 60, had been petting the animals, who had been billed as hand-reared and tame.

Her injuries were not life-threatening.

How “very unfortunate” that the thoroughly exploited animals had the audacity to act so unpredictably! The woman actually is lucky to be alive, and for the park manager to suggest that the attack was a mysterious surprise is disingenuous, at best. Having people pet anything other than a domesticated species is asking for trouble. Cheetahs are not candidates for domestication, by any warped stretch of the imagination.

We often hear about such incidents, involving a range of animals that include lions in Las Vegas, chimps in Connecticut and tigers in Ohio. It’s all absurd and it all must stop.

I understand the desire to be close to animals — even wild ones. They are amazing and breathtaking. But we need a healthy for respect for them as individuals and as wild animals! My colleague Adam Roberts just helped deliver four rescued cheetah cubs to our sanctuary in Ethiopia — from a crate in the Land Rover to their initial protective enclosure. At no point did he come in contact with them.

Admire them. Respect them. Protect them. And for heaven’s sake, view them from a safe distance!

Blogging off,

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