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
After 20 years of a failure to update regulations on captive marine mammals, a pair of Congressmen has successfully passed an amendment that will force the U.S. Department of Agriculture to update their rules that protect captive orcas and other marine mammals. The amendment will provide $1 million toward an effort that involves studying the effects of captivity on orca whales.
Link: The Dodo
Three Pennsylvania butchers await dozens of charges for allegedly processing, selling, and buying venison illegally as a result of a two-year series of investigations. All three were charged on May 19 by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, along with three others accused of related charges.
Get a sneak peek into what happens after you donate your fur items to our Fur for the Animals drive! Claire LaFrance of Born Free USA “delines” donated furs in preparation for their use at wildlife sanctuaries across the country. The facilities will use them to provide familiar comfort, warmth, and bedding to injured, young, and sick wildlife in their care. Click here to learn how you can help!
Link: The Dodo
Read Born Free USA CEO Adam M. Roberts’ blog about the plight of cheetahs—and why we must crack down on the cheetah trade.
Link: One Green Planet
Two suspected poachers have been arrested for the May 23 murder of Dexter Chilunda, the head of law enforcement for Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia. “Ranger Chilunda's murder exemplifies the sad story of wildlife law enforcement officers literally laying their lives on the line across Africa to protect endangered animals,” said Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA. “The effects are broad and lasting, as families must survive the loss of the sole breadwinner.”
Despite criticism of SeaWorld in the U.S., aquariums and marine parks in other countries are ramping up their orca programs. Two wild orcas caught in Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk will reportedly appear in the tanks of Ocean Kingdom, a park in Hengqin, China. If the import did in fact happen, this would be the first case of international trade in orca whales from the wild since Iceland stopped allowing the capture and export of the species in 1990.
Link: The Dodo
With increased demand to own the polka dot turtle as an exotic “pet,” the South Asian animal faces a growing threat of extinction. Hundreds of the black spotted turtles are regularly discovered at airports around Asia, having been illegally smuggled in luggage aboard commercial passenger flights.
Link: Times LIVE
“Ivory’s Curse: The Militarization and Professionalization of Poaching in Africa,” a report recently released by Born Free USA and C4ADS, asserts that Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Sudan, Gabon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have “corrupt governments” that support elephant poaching. Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, states, “It’s not just enough to say [elephant poaching is caused by] 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: The Citizen
Jane Goodall, renowned primatologist and founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, has issued a letter calling for an end to the Vancouver Aquarium’s cetacean captivity. “The current permission of Vancouver Aquarium cetacean breeding programs on-site, and at SeaWorld with belugas on loan, is no longer defensible by science,” Goodall states.
Link: Georgia Straight
Last week, a monkey wearing a diaper was spotted wandering around a Washington County, Utah neighborhood. When a teenager approached the monkey to take a photo, the monkey bit his finger. Because it’s illegal to keep monkeys as pets in Utah, the animal is likely to be rehomed to a sanctuary or to a private owner in another state. Visit Born Free USA’s Exotic Animal Incidents Database to learn about numerous other unfortunate cases involving exotic animals.
On May 14, 2014, Belton Paul Mouras, Sr. passed away in his home at the age of ninety. In 1968, Mr. Mouras founded Animal Protection Institute, which became Born Free USA in 2007. We respectfully acknowledge a man who gave so much to create the animal protection organizations that we have today.
Link: The Sacramento Bee
After a petition on Change.org garnered more than 20,000 signatures, Taco Bell has agreed to stop offering discounts on tickets to SeaWorld. Though the change won’t come until September, a Taco Bell spokesman confirmed that the fast-food chain has “no future plans for promotions” with the marine mammal park.
Link: The Dodo
Like many terrorist organizations in Africa, Boko Haram—who just abducted 200 girls in Nigeria—is funded by sales of illegal ivory. According to a recent report from Born Free USA and data analyst C4ADS, ivory has become the "bush currency" militants, terrorists, and rebels use to buy weapons and fund operations. Government corruption is thought to play its part, too.
Link: New Scientist
OR-7, a long-wandering wolf, left his pack in northeast Oregon and traveled to California to seek new territory—and a mate. Now, it seems he may have met his match. If he has procreated, this would be the first known wolf breeding in the Oregon Cascades since the early 1900s.
Four elephants are killed in Africa every hour for ivory. Highly organized transnational crime syndicates and militias run the poaching operations and reap the lion’s share of the profits, fueling terrorism and war. Born Free USA commissioned C4ADS to write Ivory’s Curse, a detailed report that reveals the complexities of this web of slaughter, conflict, and corruption.
Link: New Scientist
South Dakota game officials are pushing to outlaw the use of live mammals—including domestic cats, rabbits, and birds—as bait to trap coyotes and bobcats. Luckily, representatives from trapping and fur-harvesting organizations agree. The South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Commission proposed a ban this month, and a public hearing on the proposal is set for June 5.
Link: Rapid City Journal
When West Hollywood, California banned the sale of all animal fur products in 2013, animal advocates rejoiced—but fur industry representatives and retailers complained. One particular retailer, Mayfair House, even filed a lawsuit against the city. Thankfully, Mayfair’s challenge has just been struck down.
Link: One Green Planet
On Illinois Voices for Animals Day (May 7), a coalition of four animal advocacy organizations—including Born Free USA—mobilized approximately 100 people to speak with legislators in opposition to H.B. 4226, which would allow bobcat hunting in Illinois for the first time in more than 40 years. Kate Dylewsky, Program Associate at Born Free USA, explained that this event “presents an opportunity for constituents to connect with their legislators on issues that really matter to them.”
A limited spring bear hunt began in Ontario last week, but a Sudbury biologist doesn’t think this is needed to reduce the bear population in the north. He says there’s little evidence to indicate that the reinstatement of a limited spring bear hunt will reduce problems with nuisance bears, and believes that the hunt is more of a political management tool. Be sure to listen to the audio in the link below.
Link: CBC News
Battle lines are being drawn after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement last month to suspend import of elephant trophies from Tanzania and Zimbabwe for the remainder of 2014. Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, says the new rules represent “common sense limits. Trophy hunting that threatens endangered wildlife is not real conservation.” But, he adds, the government is giving a contradictory message in terms of the overall ivory ban and its public stance against elephant poaching. “A poacher is not allowed to kill an elephant and shop the ivory overseas. But an American hunter is allowed to engage in the same slaughter and movement of ivory? The goal should be no more killing. Full stop.”
Link: National Geographic
In a vital partnership between Land Rover and Born Free, we use Land Rover’s “Defender” vehicle to travel across Africa to save lions and other imperiled species. Born Free has developed a new, effective version of the traditional boma, which protects livestock so that the Masai people no longer hunt lions who threaten these animals. As Will Travers, Founder of Born Free USA explained, “We are dramatically reducing the number of livestock killed and at the same time preserving the lion population in the region.”
Link: The Sun
South Dakota wildlife officials report that, in recent years, trappers in the state have increasingly used live animals—including domestic cats and rabbits, and live birds—as bait. Now, the practice might be outlawed. The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission will hold a public hearing on June 5.
Link: Aberdeen News
Claire LaFrance, Program Associate at Born Free USA, thanks The Boston Globe for highlighting the plight of two Asian elephants at the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford. LaFrance explains the benefits of relocating these elephants to a sanctuary, which could better meet their physical, psychological, and social needs.
Link: The Boston Globe
Born Free USA’s CEO, Adam M. Roberts, discusses the war on ivory—and how the newly released report, “Ivory’s Curse: The Militarization and Professionalization of Poaching in Africa,” reveals complex networks behind the ivory trade. Roberts declares, “We will call upon global decision-makers to uniformly prohibit the trade in ivory to once again dry up the marketplace. We will encourage targeted action in each of the poaching and trade hotspots we have identified to make sure the right approach is applied in the right place. And we will continue to identify the nefarious people working to doom elephants for their own greed.”
Link: One Green Planet
At recent hearings—attended by about a quarter of the trappers in Wisconsin—it was decided that the number of permitted trapping hours in Wisconsin will increase by 50 percent.
Link: The Capital Times
Born Free USA’s commissioned report, “Ivory’s Curse: The Militarization and Professionalization of Poaching in Africa,” finds that corrupt government officials are behind intensive, organized, illegal hunting in Tanzania’s protected areas. According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “the elephant poaching crisis has reached historic levels and shockingly, some elephant populations face extinction in my lifetime.”
Link: IPP Media
Food left out for wildlife on California’s Edwards Air Force Base may have inadvertently caused a woman to get bitten by a coyote. Base wildlife experts from Edwards AFB Environmental Management believe the woman walked too closely to a coyote’s preferred hunting spot, where they found evidence that someone had been spreading bird seed.
Link: Edwards Air Force Base
Idaho conservation officials report that illegal hunters likely kill more wildlife than do wolves. “Wolves are causing an impact, there is no doubt about it,” said the Idaho Fish and Game District Conservation Officer. “I don’t want to downplay that at all, but (poachers) are probably killing more or stealing more game than wolves.”
Link: Discovery News
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