The trade in illegal elephant ivory from Africa to Asia relies on as few as 200 shipping containers in a year, offering a weak point to target smugglers, according to Out of Africa: a report released last week by Born Free USA and C4ADS. “What we want to do is get a commitment from freight companies that they will not allow themselves to be used for this nefarious wildlife crime,” explains Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA.
Douglas the hippo was just two weeks old when he was found abandoned and close to death in Zambia in May 2013. Now, more than a year later, he has joined a pod of wild hippo in the South Luangwa River, close to the Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust (CWET) where he has grown up. Will Travers, President of the Born Free Foundation, which supports CWET, said of the rescue mission: "I’m so pleased to be able to say ‘mission accomplished’ for Douglas."
Link: Daily Mail
On Wednesday, Born Free USA and C4ADS released a shocking report, “Out of Africa: Mapping the Global Trade in Illicit Elephant Ivory,” which asserts that efforts to stop the illegal killing of African elephants should focus on ivory transshipment ports and personnel. Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, explains that this “transit or supply chain is the single greatest point of vulnerability in the illicit ivory system.” Read Roberts’ informative interview about ivory trafficking syndicates, the African ports that ship out most of the ivory, and why law enforcement should target that link in the trade chain.
Link: National Geographic
An insatiable Chinese demand for ivory and the increasing involvement of organized crime syndicates in smuggling are causing the mass killing of Africa’s elephants, and could trigger a stampede to extinction if unchecked, according to a groundbreaking report released today by Born Free USA and C4ADS. Out of Africa: Mapping the Global Trade in Illicit Elephant Ivory asserts that “poaching and trafficking in ivory is at the highest level in 25 years.” According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “The more we can attack the ivory trade before the ivory gets to market, the more we can deter these poachers and profiteers from making money off dead elephants."
Link: NBC News
A giant snake bit one of Nicki Minaj’s backup dancers during a Friday rehearsal for the MTV Video Music Awards. The six foot long Boa constrictor brought the mock performance to a halt when it slithered up to the woman and took a bite out of her, as fellow performers looked on in disbelief. Visit the Born Free USA Exotic Animal Incidents Database to learn more about the dangers of interacting with exotic animals.
Link: New York Post
SeaWorld’s orca trainers will stay out of the water following the park’s decision to give up its appeal to overturn a federal appeals court ruling in April. That decision upheld the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s citations against SeaWorld for various violations, including some linked directly to the death of one of its trainers in 2010.
Hollywood mogul and co-creator of The Simpsons, Sam Simon, has purchased a chinchilla farm in Southern California as part of a drive by animal rights activists to close the breeding facility. The 425 chinchillas were moved to much larger cages at two local humane society branches, where they will be available for adoption. "This is your last day of abuse," Simon told the animals, as he walked through the facility's cramped rows of mesh-wire cages. "This is your first day of freedom."
A two-month-old rhesus macaque named Bubbles—who has quickly gained fame as an internet sensation—is being raised by a Texas woman who treats the monkey as if she were a human child. “Keeping animals in unnatural conditions means they are put at physical and mental risk,” said Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA. “That mentality…is a very human-centered view of what the animal wants and needs and can withstand…as opposed to one that puts the animal's needs first.”
A new study published on Monday found that, between 2010 and 2012, poachers killed an estimated 100,000 elephants across Africa: a huge spike in the continent’s elephant death rate. This surge largely stems from an increased demand for ivory in China and other Asian nations. The study, which was carried out by the world’s leading elephant experts, warns that if this rate of slaughter continues, it will lead to the extinction of the species.
Link: CBS News
Shares of SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS), which operates 11 theme parks, plummeted more than 33 percent on Wednesday, hitting an all-time low. The problem: Worries about claims of mistreatment of killer whales at its SeaWorld locations hurt attendance, and it slashed its earnings outlook.
Link: CBS News
Listen to a brand new radio interview with Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, in which he discusses the dire need to protect lions from extinction—and what Born Free USA is doing to help.
Link: BYU Radio
Fur prices have dropped significantly in 2014—the largest drop in a single year in more than three decades. And, this admission actually comes from a pro-trapping publication. Could this spell trouble for the cruel fur industry? Visit the Fur Free Retailer website to learn which retailers have taken a stand against the barbaric use of fur in fashion.
Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, continues his monthly column for Wildlife Extra with his views on marine mammals being kept in captivity—and the continuing controversy surrounding SeaWorld.
Link: Wildlife Extra
In light of the shrinking lion population, and in the spirit of awareness and conservation efforts around the globe, Sunday, August 10 was World Lion Day. Due to a combination of poaching, disease, and habitat loss, the species is teetering on the brink of extinction.
A six-pound baby coyote pup was rescued after a Good Samaritan found the suffering animal in a Santa Maria alley in California, tied up with stereo electrical cable wires. Though the pup suffered terrible injuries, she is making an excellent recovery.
The City of Calgary is suspending all beaver trapping until it completes a review of a recent incident. A beaver had been building a dam, and the city feared that it could flood a bike path. Officials hired a contractor to trap and kill the animal, but the trap malfunctioned--and people using the path came upon the upsetting sight of the beaver struggling to free itself.
Link: CBC News
New Jersey has become the first state to ban the sale or import of ivory and rhinoceros horns in a bid to stem the state’s role as a major hub in the illegal trade of such products. “New Jersey has emerged as a powerful leader on these issues,” said Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA. “This new law is of particular importance because the port of Newark is a hub for illegal wildlife trade. The elephant poaching epidemic across Africa has reached crisis levels and rhino poaching is escalating exponentially, so we have no time to waste in enacting legislation.”
Read the latest blog installment from Born Free USA CEO, Adam M. Roberts, on One Green Planet. This month, Roberts discusses the hypocritical practice of trapping on national wildlife refuges: lands set aside for the express purpose of conservation. Explains Roberts, “What I don’t know, and what I simply can’t accept, is that there can be a place in America called a ‘wildlife refuge’ that allows the trapping of wild animals. Synonyms for refuge: sanctuary, shelter, asylum, haven.”
Link: One Green Planet
Today, August 4, the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit will hold five signature events, one of them being “Combating Wildlife Trafficking”—“an opportunity for African leaders to join together and share their ideas on how to best counter the poaching threat,” according to the White House website. Born Free USA's CEO, Adam M. Roberts, would like to see a more hands-on approach that includes having the range states close their borders to ivory imports and infuse anti-poaching and wildlife law enforcement efforts on the ground.
An 11-year-old boy had his arm amputated after being nearly torn off by a tiger at Cascavel Zoo in southern Brazil. The boy tried to pet the tiger through the bars of the animal's cage. Visit Born Free USA’s Exotic Animal Incidents Database for numerous examples of the dangers of interacting with exotic animals.
A Michigan woman was hospitalized after being bitten by a lion in a Michigan zoo. “I put my hand down there to pet it and it ripped my finger,” she says. The woman claims that a zookeeper let her into the lion’s cage, which zoo owners deny. Visit Born Free USA’s Exotic Animal Incidents Database for numerous examples of the dangers of interacting with exotic animals.
Suffering with teeth problems, a disintegrating dorsal fin, and what appears to be a significant depression behind her blowhole, cetacean advocates believe that Kiska, who has spent the last 35 years in captivity at Marineland, Canada, is very sick. The solitary Icelandic orca, who was captured in 1977 at the estimated age of three, hasn't seen another killer whale since 2011. Dedicated activists say that they have watched Kiska turn into the shell of what a killer whale should be.
Link: Digital Journal
The harvest of wild terrestrial and aquatic animals each year injects more than $400 billion dollars into the world economy—but also breeds piracy, slavery, and terrorism. The over-harvest of wild animals, both from land and sea, has created a market defined by low supply and high demand. This has led to the proliferation of organized crime in some of the poorest parts of the world. Over-hunting and over-fishing have, at least in part, created conditions where human trafficking and terrorism can thrive.
A recent campaign by Born Free USA asked fur owners to donate their old garments to help rehabilitate injured or orphaned wildlife. “The furs are being used to replicate the warmth, comfort, and stimulation that young orphaned animals would have otherwise experienced from their mothers, siblings, and their natural environment,” says Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA. The organization sent 100-plus furs to wildlife rehabilitation centers across the country.
Learning how to respect and respond to wildlife in your backyard—and while camping, picnicking, and hiking—can mean the difference between co-existing peacefully and being in serious danger. “Fed wildlife is dead wildlife,” explains Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA. “Once a wild animal becomes accustomed to hand-outs by people, they eventually become regarded as ‘nuisance animals’ which opens the door to lethal control.”
Link: Living Green Magazine
New York State Assemblywoman, Linda Rosenthal, Writes Dozens of Animal Rights Bills; Wins Gratitude of Activists
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a New York Democrat, has written laws that limit the testing of cosmetics on animals, outlaw the tattooing and piercing of pets, and more. Rosenthal is still waiting for passage of at least a dozen more animal-related bills she’s sponsored. “I have (authored) bills about practically every animal there is,” she said.
Link: New York Daily News
Once again demonstrating the dangers of keeping primates as pets, a blue macaque escaped from its wealthy owner’s private zoo in Crimea, gnawing through its tether and leaping into a nearby home. The monkey killed a six-week-old boy, tearing his head “to pieces.” Visit Born Free USA’s Exotic Animal Incidents Database for a comprehensive list of dangerous incidents involving humans and exotic animals in the U.S.
Link: Daily Mail
More than 6,000 people attend each Zoo Lates event: alcohol-filled Friday night parties held at London Zoo, which are advertised as an "after party with the animals." Sources at the zoo have raised serious concerns about the impact on animals’ sleep and stress levels. Drunken incidents include a man pouring beer over a tiger, and reports of individual visitors attempting to enter animals’ enclosures.
Link: The Guardian
Prominent New Zealand businessmen and philanthropists have teamed up with international supermodel and Patron to Born Free Foundation, Rachel Hunter, and the Executive Director of SPCA Auckland, to formally urge the New Zealand government to consider a complete ban on all ivory trading and to crush the Crown’s confiscated ivory stockpile.
Born Free USA’s CEO, Adam M. Roberts, continues his monthly column for Wildlife Extra. In this edition, he speaks out against the illegal trade in tiger parts: “More tigers are kept in private hands in America than remain in all of their historic wild range. This is a species that has suffered a 96 per cent decline in the past century. It is a pitiful indictment of human shortsightedness that the species’ plight has become so critical.”
Link: Wildlife Extra
California Representative Adam Schiff speaks out about the importance of ending marine mammal captivity. Watch his informative speech by clicking the YouTube link below.
World Cup fever has crossed over into the animal kingdom! Watch the latest video released by Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation, in which nine rescued cheetah cubs ‘play soccer’ at Ensessakotteh: Born Free’s Wildlife Rescue, Conservation, and Education Centre in Ethiopia. "It is amazing to be able to give these cubs a safe, active environment,” explains Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and acting CEO of the Born Free Foundation. "All of the cheetahs currently being cared for by our rescue center in Ethiopia were rescued from the illegal wildlife trade.”
Commenting on Charla Nash's appeal to Congress, Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and Wildlife Extra columnist, said: “Charla’s story highlights a truth that cannot be ignored; these wild animals belong in the wild, not in someone’s home. This is an animal welfare and a public safety issue, where animals and people are being severely injured and killed. Charla Nash represents tragedy--but also resilience..."
Link: Wildlife Extra News
Charla Nash, who underwent one of the world's first face transplants in 2011, spoke to reporters with Connecticut Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy by her side, along with Born Free USA and the Humane Society of the United States. She then met with congressional staffers, calling for passage of Captive Primate Safety Act. The measure was actually passed by the House in 2009, but failed to gain support in the Senate. "Had this law been in effect, this would never have happened, and I don't want something like this to ever happen to anyone else ever again," Nash, 60, told staffers in the meeting at the Capitol.
Link: The News Times
With a heightened level of continental assault on elephants, prices for ivory skyrocketing, and wildlife law enforcement officers struggling to keep pace with the greedy perpetrators of wildlife crime, this is no time to tinker around the edges and equivocate about dealing definitively with the bloody ivory trade.
Link: One Green Planet
The ‘Cheetah World Cup’ has been a real success. The rescued cheetahs at Born Free’s Ensessakoteh Wildlife Center loved the game and it was a great opportunity for exercise. All of the cheetahs were rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. “Young cubs are stolen from the wild by criminals, and then pass through the hands of dealers, often on the way to the Middle East to become exotic pets on a chain,” says Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and the acting CEO of the Born Free Foundation. “These rescued cheetahs are the lucky ones.”
The issue of bringing an elephant to the Bourbonnais Friendship Festival is a lot bigger than one elephant in one town. "More and more people are seeing that these temporary shows, performances, and petting zoos are a thing of the past that shouldn't include elephants or other exotic animals," said Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA. "People are in an uproar about it."
Link: The Daily Journal
"Besides terrorist groups, corrupt military units and militias operating across Africa sell [ivory] to cartels that, in turn, sell mostly to Asian markets," Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA told WhoWhatWhy. Nor is it a new phenomenon, he said: The Janjaweed militias that were active in Sudan’s Darfur conflict have smuggled ivory across Central Africa for decades.
Born Free’s mission of “compassionate conservation” has inspired the participation of millions of people worldwide from all walks of life, including celebrity film stars to local businessmen. Littlegate Publishing recently caught up with Adam M. Roberts, the recently appointed and highly engaging CEO of Born Free USA and acting CEO of the Born Free Foundation.
Link: Littlegate Publishing
The New York state Senate unanimously passed legislation that grants the large white birds a two-year reprieve from a state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) plan to eradicate them in New York by 2025. The bill would also require the DEC to demonstrate that the birds are actually damaging the environment before moving ahead with eradication efforts.
Link: New York Daily News
Citizens from all 180 nations represented at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) will monitor the upcoming deliberations of the CITES Standing Committee in Geneva (July 7 - 11, 2014), where decision-makers and politicians will meet to debate the future of some of the planet’s most threatened species. According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and acting CEO of Born Free Foundation, “CITES delegates have an amazing opportunity in Geneva to address the issues of endangered species conservation – the startling statistics of the wildlife trade will surely make anyone’s blood run cold.”
Link: Talkin’ Pets
A Northern California man has pleaded guilty to illegally poaching 60 bobcats and gray foxes for their pelts, snaring them in traps he set over 900 square miles in two counties, officials said.
Link: Los Angeles Times
Ivory’s Curse, a recent report by C4ADS that was commissioned by Born Free USA, suggests that the African population can peacefully coexist with wild animals—but only if two things happen. First, African governments must get serious about tackling their poaching problem. Second, the ecotourism industry, which has historically benefited only a few, must be transformed so that its profits reach a larger segment of the population, winning allies for wildlife from among Africa’s villagers (who often clash with the animals).
Link: YES! Magazine
The New Jersey legislature passed a bill that seeks to eliminate trade in ivory and rhinoceros horn. Illegal trafficking of these wildlife products is directly responsible for shocking declines in wild populations in recent years, and this bill is a crucial step toward reducing the target market. “As the second largest ivory market in the world, the United States bears a significant responsibility to act now,” says Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA. “New Jersey is of particular importance because the port of Newark is a hub for illegal wildlife trade.” The New York State legislature has also just passed a bill banning the sale of ivory and rhino horn.
Link: Pet News and Views
Summer is prime season for spotting wildlife. However, Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, advises, “Never feed wild animals. Once a wild animal becomes accustomed to hand-outs by people, they will feel very comfortable making it a habit to get close, and a deadly cycle begins. They will eventually be regarded as ‘nuisance animals,’ which opens the door to lethal control and other issues.”
Born Free USA commissioned C4ADS to write a report, "Ivory's Curse: The Militarization and Professionalization of Poaching in Africa," which suggests that virtually all of Africa's violent conflicts are being fueled by the black market in ivory. It's a vicious cycle: Elephants are killed to bankroll militias; well-funded militias destabilize nations; destabilized nations lose control of their territory and are unable to protect elephants. The killings accelerate until too few animals are left to hunt. Then, the poachers move on to fresh herds in new areas.
Link: Chicago Tribune
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has on his desk a bill to ban sale and purchase of illegal ivory in New Jersey. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Raymond Lesniak, cleared the Assembly Monday. This bill would prohibit the purchase, sale, and possession with intent to sell any illicit ivory product or rhinoceros horns. Exemption would be allowed for the transfer to legal beneficiaries of legitimately-obtained ivory. Born Free USA commended the action of the New Jersey legislature, warning that certain elephant populations could be extinct within a decade.
Link: Asbury Park Press
A 50 year old elephant named Satao, one of Africa’s last ‘great tusker’ elephants, has been killed by poachers in Kenya. On May 30, Satao was shot dead by poachers using poisoned arrows.
The more than 4 million animals shot, poisoned, snared, or trapped by the Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services in fiscal year 2013 included 75,326 coyotes, 866 bobcats, 528 river otters, 3,700 foxes, 12,186 prairie dogs, 973 red-tailed hawks, 419 black bears, and at least three eagles, golden and bald. However, there’s little data showing the cause for each killing, the methods used, and the reasons behind mistakes that lead to massive kills of animals that aren’t targeted.
Link: Washington Post
Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, begins his brand new monthly column for Wildlife Extra by examining the intricacies of the devastating rhino horn trade. He writes, “Rhino poaching for rhino horn is driving the species to extinction. This is an international crisis with significant consequences, and Born Free USA is urging every government globally to take action.”
Link: Wildlife Extra