A new report, commissioned by Born Free USA, says organized crime, government corruption, and militias are all linked to elephant poaching and the illegal ivory trade. Regarding poaching, Adam M. Roberts, Born Free USA’s CEO, explains, “It’s not just enough to say it’s criminal syndicates, nefarious profiteers. We wanted to know who is really behind it so that we can try and get governments around the world to do more to crack down.”
Link: Voice of America
Born Free USA commissioned a report from C4ADS to better understand the role organized crime and corrupt government officials play in ivory trafficking across Africa. Born Free USA’s CEO, Adam M. Roberts, explains, "Our findings shine a bright light on Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Sudan, and Kenya, where poachers move across borders with near impunity, slaughter elephants with complete disregard, and use the ivory to fund violent operations across the continent.”
Link: Yahoo! News
A company in China that raises bears to extract their bile will be turned into a rehab center for more than 130 of its bears. Animals Asia Foundation will spearhead the operation. According to a statement from Animals Asia Foundation, the bears on the farm are sick from earlier extractions, as well as from confinement in small cages, poor diets, and a lack of veterinary care.
Link: The New York Times
Sadly, animals can be the forgotten victims of human conflict. Animals in a Ukranian zoo have been left to die of starvation in the wake of the country’s political turmoil.
Link: Daily Mail
The Los Angeles City Council has unanimously voted to ban traps that snare or grip coyotes, bears, foxes, and other animals. Any trap "that maims or causes the inhumane death or suffering of any animal" will be banned.
Link: Los Angeles Times
Experts warn that rhinos are on the path to extinction--perhaps even by the year 2020. Last week, Will Travers, Founder of Born Free USA, attended a summit on wildlife crime in South Africa. Travers states, “There are now just 20,000 white rhino and 5,000 black rhino left in the wild. If poaching carries on at the rate it is now for six more years it will devastate the numbers.”
As elephant populations in Tanzania and Zimbabwe have declined significantly, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a suspension on imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies taken in both countries during 2014.
Vassar College profiles the career of one of its successful graduates: Born Free USA’s CEO, Adam M. Roberts (class of 1990). This informative piece details Roberts’ professional background, how he became interested in animal advocacy, and his vision for the future of Born Free USA. “We’re looking to improve and enhance animal rights laws at the state and federal level here in the U.S. as well as do a lot more in the area of international animal rights policy,” Roberts says.
Link: Vassar College
Parade discusses 10 types of animals—from elephants, to polar bears, to bald eagles—who play important roles in the survival of our planet. Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, contributes his expertise throughout, stressing that “each animal has an intrinsic value.” Be sure to click the pink “Launch Gallery” button at the end of the article to see the list of animals—with Roberts’ commentary!
Hedgehogs are gaining popularity as household pets—but Born Free USA warns of the potential risks of hedgehog ownership. Hedgehogs can bite humans, and the animals are known to carry a rare strain of salmonella.
Link: Boston Globe
Born Free USA is featured in the newest issue of Kiwi, in an article titled "Caring for consumers: A look at the watchdog groups working to keep you informed." Adam M. Roberts, Born Free USA's CEO, explains our organizational goals, and the article briefly outlines our campaigns.
Does the exotic pet trade threaten wild populations? A new study finds mixed results, citing habitat loss, wildlife and human conflicts, and hunting for meat or body parts as additional contributing factors to species declines.
It has come to light that SeaWorld administered diazepam, a psychoactive drug, to a nursing orca—which is a clear violation of veterinary guidelines. Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, echoed the veterinary spokesman’s concerns: “Long-term high dosage can cause amnesia, heightened anxiety, aggression, and unpredictability, as well as probable birth and neonatal defects when administered to pregnant or nursing females.”
Link: The Dodo
The Charleston Gazette features an op-ed written by Born Free USA’s Program Associate, Kate Dylewsky. Dylewsky shares the good news that West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has signed the Dangerous Wild Animals Act (HB. 4393) into law, banning future private possession of all “wild and exotic animals” in the state.
Link: The Charleston Gazette
Three Chinese men were arrested for hiding 14 rhino horns and leopard skins in their luggage as they attempted to board a flight from Namibia to Hong Kong. All three have been charged with possession of and export in controlled wildlife products.
Link: Wildlife News
HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell speaks to Will Travers, Founder of Born Free USA, about the controversy surrounding Copenhagen Zoo’s recent killing of a healthy giraffe and four healthy lions. Travers states, "I do think that there are some really hard questions that need to be asked, not only of the Copenhagen Zoo, but of zoos in general... Are they just public display facilities that show animals that they then get rid of when they have no use for them?"
Congressional Quarterly (CQ) features Born Free USA's CEO, Adam Roberts, in its most recent publication. The article details Born Free USA's history, our focus on policy change to protect wildlife, and Roberts' expert background in the field of animal advocacy. Be sure to give this exciting article a read to learn more about our work to save animals!
Link: Congressional Quarterly
Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, speaks out against Copenhagen Zoo’s decision to euthanize four healthy lions, just weeks after the zoo killed a healthy two-year-old giraffe. Roberts calls the zoo’s program “irresponsible, unsound, and unethical.”
A mere month after sparking international outrage for killing a healthy young giraffe named Marius, Denmark’s Copenhagen Zoo has exploded into the headlines again—this time, for killing four of its lions to make way for a new male. A zoo spokesman claims that the zoo tried to place the lions elsewhere, “but unfortunately there wasn’t any interest.” The lions were killed on Monday.
On the heels of the controversial 2013 documentary, Blackfish—and the subsequent public criticism of SeaWorld—Natural Pet World magazine explores the harsh reality of animal captivity. The article features Born Free USA CEO, Adam Roberts, who urges, “The way to learn about wild animals is to see them in the wild... This is infinitely more educational than seeing animals clinging to life in unnatural settings that are dangerous for both animals and people.”
Link: Natural Pet World
The April 2014 issue of National Geographic Magazine carefully explores the risks of exotic pet ownership. Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, contributes his expertise to this wonderfully detailed piece.
Croatia’s second largest city, Split, will close its infamous zoo—described by some as the ‘worst in the world.’ The animals will be relocated to other zoos around Europe.
Link: Global Animal
For once, there’s a bit of good news about poaching. The country of Nepal proudly reports that, between February 2013 and February 2014, no rhinos, tigers, or elephants were poached within its borders. Nepal celebrated a poaching-free year in 2011, as well.
A new study has found that wild elephants in Kenya can distinguish between human languages, and they can detect whether a voice is that of a man, woman, or boy. The results show that elephants utilize their famed powers of memory to study people and identify potential threats. According to one of the researchers, elephants “have developed this very rich knowledge of the humans that they share their habitat with.”
It may seem harmless to feed breadcrumbs to ducks, or to leave picnic scraps for other wildlife—but it can hurt both animals and humans. Human foods can cause serious health problems for wildlife. And, this feeding can condition animals to approach humans to look for food, creating dangerous changes in their natural behaviors. Click here to learn how Born Free USA promotes responsible coexistence with wildlife, and be sure to download our brochures for more information.
Link: The News Tribune
Bindi Irwin, 15-year-old daughter of the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, has announced her partnership with SeaWorld—which incited immediate public backlash. SeaWorld’s reputation has been marred since the award-winning documentary, Blackfish (2013), called into question SeaWorld’s practice of keeping marine mammals in captivity.
Link: Daily Mail
A federal appeals court has upheld Ohio’s new restrictions on exotic animals, ruling against seven owners who opposed the law. Ohio defended the law as protecting animal welfare, public health, and public safety associated with private ownership of dangerous wild animals.
Link: WRGT Fox 45
Born Free founder and trustee Virginia McKenna has urged Anglican and Catholic leaders: “Anyone who is in a position of influence, whether it’s the Church, politicians or leaders of society, you have to persuade all those people that seem to crave these little bits of carved teeth, that what they crave is a piece of death.”
Link: Amara Elephant Blog
A recent article proposes that we can protect elephants by farming them—but Will Travers, President of the Born Free Foundation, carefully debunks the author’s claims, point by point.
Link: The Guardian
Federal biologists are preparing to release two captive Mexican gray wolves in Arizona to strengthen struggling wild populations. But, state lawmakers are working to fund litigation against expansion of the wolf-recovery zone, broaden who can shoot endangered Mexican gray wolves, and push future wolf releases to Mexico. Senator Chester Crandell (R-Heber) backs three bills that would challenge the Endangered Species Act’s requirement to preserve rare species.
Link: AZ Central
Jon Patch, host of the Talkin’ Pets radio and internet show, discusses Born Free USA’s involvement in World Wildlife Day (March 3). As Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, explains, “The global wildlife trade is among the most profitable illicit enterprises along with drug and gun running… It is a wildly destructive and cruel enterprise that must be controlled.”
Link: Talkin’ Pets
Secret film footage of Finnish fur farms reveals the immense suffering in the brutal fur industry… but it hasn't deterred fashion labels like Burberry, Marc Jacobs, Fendi, or Gucci from using real animal fur in their designs. Click here for Born Free USA’s report on fur farming in North America.
Listen to the Animals Today Radio interview with Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, in which he criticizes the recent slaughter of a healthy, young Copenhagen Zoo giraffe: a shocking story that sparked international outrage.
Link: Animals Today Radio
In New Mexico, two dogs were caught in coyote traps while out for a walk with their owner. Fortunately, these dogs were not seriously injured—but other pets and wildlife aren’t always so lucky. Visit our Non-Target Trapping Incidents database to learn about other such tragedies. You can search by state, year(s), species, type of trap, victim’s disposition, and keyword.
Link: Las Cruces Sun-News
Lady Gaga attempted to feature a slow loris, a baby kangaroo, and an exotic goat in her latest music video for “G.U.Y. (Girl Under You)”—until the slow loris bit her. Thankfully, no animals ended up being used in the video.
Link: New York Post
Two primates—a Japanese macaque and a vervet monkey—have been rescued from “deplorable” conditions in a Carlisle, Pennsylvania home and relocated to the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley, Texas. “We are grateful to help these two primates,” said Born Free USA CEO Adam Roberts. “They are the lucky ones.”
Link: Penn Live
Just days after Denmark’s Copenhagen Zoo publicly killed a healthy young giraffe, Marius, another zoo in Denmark is now considering ‘euthanizing’ yet another unwanted giraffe—coincidentally, also named Marius. Jyllands Park Zoo joined the same breeding program as Copenhagen Zoo, which means that it can’t have too many giraffes with the same genetic makeup. A final decision is still pending.
The good news: Captive orcas will not be displayed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The bad news: These orcas remain in captivity--in China and in small pens in Moscow--where some suspect that they’re being trained to perform for circus shows.
Link: One Green Planet
Yesterday, Denmark’s Copenhagen Zoo publicly killed an 18-month-old giraffe, Marius, with a bolt gun—and fed his remains to lions. Despite international outrage and offers to rehome Marius, zoo officials decided to euthanize the “unwanted” giraffe to avoid inbreeding in the zoo’s giraffe population.
Link: NBC News
France has just followed the lead of Gabon, the Philippines, the U.S., and China by crushing 3.5 tons of its stockpiled ivory. Will Travers of Born Free commented, “By destroying this ivory, France is sending two key messages to the global community: that the illegal ivory trade is completely unacceptable and that ivory should never be allowed to enter the marketplace, where it fuels demand and contributes to the death of both elephants and the wildlife rangers trying to protect them.”
Douglas, an orphaned hippopotamus rescued in Zambia by Born Free Foundation, is now being nursed back to health by the staff at Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust—and by Coco and Molly, two Jack Russell terriers. Douglas’ canine friends are keeping him company during his rehabilitation.
This month, representatives from 50 countries—including Prince William, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and Chinese media icons like actor Jackie Chan and basketball star Yao Ming—will attend a summit to pressure China to end their monumental role in the ivory trade. Born Free’s Will Travers states, “China is the biggest market because, in 2008, the international community decided it was acceptable to sell some stockpiled ivory to China and Japan to satisfy demand… What it did was it stimulated demand.”
Link: Voice of Russia
Several musical acts have cancelled upcoming concerts at SeaWorld amidst the controversy of “Blackfish,” the hit documentary that questions the practice of keeping orcas in captivity. Despite this backlash, Alan Jackson and Kid Rock are unfortunately still set to perform at SeaWorld’s “Bands, Brew & BBQ” event this weekend.
Senator Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha, Nebraska has proposed a bill that would make it illegal to own or sell shark fins in Nebraska. Despite living in a landlocked state, Nordquist understands the importance of taking a stand: “It’s obvious there aren’t a lot of shark fins in Nebraska…but it would send a statement that Nebraska cares about our world’s ecological balance.”
Link: KLKN TV
Poachers have shot and killed a rhinoceros in a Kenyan national park, despite new laws—and despite the park being heavily guarded. According to a spokesman for the Kenya Wildlife Service, “The rhino horns were hacked and taken away… Investigations are under way.”
Link: Yahoo News
Animal Planet’s popular television show, Call of the Wildman, is under intense criticism for numerous instances of alleged animal mistreatment. Despite animal welfare laws, a seven-month investigation by Mother Jones uncovered evidence that animals have been neglected, improperly handled, and drugged—and that some animals even died under Animal Planet’s watch.
Link: Mother Jones
In the latest installment of his Huffington Post blog, Will Travers, CEO of Born Free, shares an important message from Tim Ajax, Director of the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary. Ajax tells the story of Brodi—a young spider monkey who was recently killed after biting a human—to illustrate the point that ownership of wild animals is dangerous, unnatural, and cruel.
Link: Huffington Post
Hong Kong, a key port for the ivory trade, has announced plans to incinerate 28 of its 29.6 tons of ivory into ash. China is currently the world’s largest end-market for ivory.
Link: Chicago Tribune
Read Born Free CEO Will Travers’ latest piece for Huffington Post, in which he addresses the controversial story of Corey Knowlton: the Dallas-based hunter who recently won an auction to kill an endangered black rhinoceros in Namibia.
Link: Huffington Post
In 2012, Darwin, better known as the “Ikea monkey,” escaped from his owner in an Ikea parking lot and was taken to Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary in Ontario. Darwin’s owner, Yasmin Nakhuda, sued the sanctuary in an attempt to get him back. Now, a court has ruled that Nakhuda must pay $83,000 to cover the sanctuary’s legal costs.
Link: CTV News