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
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