In December, Born Free USA asked our members to write letters to Judge John Gleeson, urging him to impose a strict sentence for illegal rhinoceros horn trafficker, Michael Slattery, Jr. On Friday, January 10, Mr. Slattery was sentenced to serve 14 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release; to pay a $10,000 fine; and to forfeit $50,000 in profits from his rhino horn trade. Born Free USA sincerely appreciates your involvement in this momentous case.
A zoo near Buenos Aires, Argentina invites visitors to touch, ride, and walk among wild animals such as bears, lions, and tigers: a dangerous practice that also begs questions of animal mistreatment. Born Free USA CEO, Will Travers, explains the risks of close interaction with wild animals.
Link: Yahoo! Travel
This week, China took an important first step in ending the ivory trade by publicly destroying six tons of elephant ivory. But, due to China’s unique, substantial role in wildlife trafficking, there remains much more to be done.
Link: National Geographic
A hunting community in India killed approximately 150,000 federally protected Amur falcons in the fall of 2012. But, following a successful year-long campaign by state officials and nonprofit organizations to educate villagers about protecting these birds, the number killed this season dropped to zero.
National Bird Day, the annual avian celebration, is a day to recognize the plight of captive and wild birds. Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, states, “While some may argue that breeding and the pet industry increase the odds of survival, a literal bird in a cage does not make up for one absent from the wild.”
Link: The Oregonian
Following in the footsteps of Gabon, Kenya, the Philippines, and the U.S., China has demonstrated its commitment to ending the bloody ivory trade by destroying 6.1 tons of confiscated elephant ivory. This was an important gesture, considering that ivory is a traditional symbol of wealth and status in China.
Link: South China Morning Post
National Bird Day, held this Sunday, January 5, is a day to reaffirm our commitment to birds—and to focus on bird species that are in peril. Check out this fascinating list of 14 highly endangered birds to keep in mind on National Bird Day (and all year round)!
Link: Mother Nature Network
Born Free USA’s Kate Dylewsky praises Tony Schinella, Editor of New Hampshire’s Concord Patch publication, for publicizing the dangers that traps pose to non-targeted animals. New Hampshire Representative Steve Vaillancourt plans to introduce a bill that will ban the cruelest forms of trapping.
Link: Concord Patch
No top 10 wildlife news story list would be complete without mentioning this year's historic ivory crush in Denver, the Born Free USA and Humane Society of the United States report on trapping on National Wildlife Refuges, the release of the acclaimed film "Blackfish" that's rapidly spreading the message that marine mammals don't belong in captivity, and so much more. You can bet that 2014 will usher in another year of wildlife success stories - and let's hope they're not along the lines of shooting one species to save another!
Though December 28 marked the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act being signed into law, gray wolves still lack adequate protection. In 2011, the federal government removed the gray wolf from the list of endangered species in the Northern Rocky Mountains, which resulted in continued hunting—and declining wolf populations. And, this past weekend, a contentious Idaho hunting event rewarded participants for shooting both coyotes and wolves.
Link: The New York Times
In his latest Huffington Post blog, Will Travers, CEO of Born Free, discusses the threats facing birds in captivity and in the wild. January 5, National Bird Day, is a day to reaffirm our commitment to birds everywhere and to acknowledge that the fight for their freedom and survival is not over.
Link: Huffington Post
Following President Obama's lead, the United Kingdom announces a February roundtable on wildlife trafficking and a significant investment in combating the illegal global wildlife trade.
Link: The Independent
With an Idaho coyote and wolf hunting competition quickly approaching this weekend, conservation groups urge a federal judge to cancel the event. Supporters of the hunt argue that the tournament is a form of wildlife management, while animal advocates deem it a “killing contest.”
Fur trapping rages on in Pennsylvania, which sadly boasts the highest density of trappers on the Eastern Seaboard. Despite those who defend the ‘tradition’ of trapping, Born Free USA argues that oversight is weak, laws are often ignored, and that non-targeted animals may be killed.
Link: Seattle Pi
“Talkin’ Pets,” with International Talk Show Host, Jon Patch, shares the exciting news that legendary rock band, REO Speedwagon, helped to raise funds for the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary by giving concert-going donors a chance to win a guitar autographed by the band. Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, said of last weekend’s San Antonio concert, “The band has embraced our mission to Keep Wildlife in the Wild, and we are grateful they are on board.” For more animal-related stories, follow Talkin’ Pets on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/talkinpetsradio) and like them on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/talkinpetsradiofans).
Link: Talkin' Pets
Virginia McKenna, star of the iconic film, Born Free, and her son, Will Travers, Born Free CEO, sit down for an informative interview with London Evening Standard about the ongoing plight of elephants in the bloody ivory trade.
Link: London Evening Standard
Born Free USA’s Executive Vice President, Adam Roberts, recounts his experience at the historic November 14 ivory crush near Denver, Colorado--and meticulously explains the significance of the event. The crush was not only meant to send a message about destroying the value of ivory, but about crushing elephant poaching, wildlife trafficking, and other practices that harm wild animals.
Link: Advocacy for Animals
Born Free USA and the Humane Society of the United States report that more than half of the wildlife refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System allow trapping on their grounds. Legislation must be passed to ban these traps. Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, explains, “It is inexcusable to subject any animal to such a fate on lands intended for their preservation.”
“Blackfish,” the acclaimed 2013 documentary that exposes abuse and exploitation in the captive marine mammal industry, has educated audiences about the dangers of supporting SeaWorld—and now, three popular musical acts have cancelled upcoming shows at the theme park. Will Travers, CEO of Born Free, believes that this film will “change public attitudes” toward orcas, just as the 1966 film "Born Free" did for lions.
Link: The Guardian
In the Business Day section of The New York Times, Will Travers, CEO of Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation, recounts his most memorable travel experiences--including the careful transport of Rocky, a rescued captive dolphin.
Link: The New York Times
A New York antiques dealer, who has smuggled rhinoceros horn and elephant ivory artifacts from the U.S. to China, has been sentenced to more than three years in prison and three years' supervised release. "Smuggling wildlife artifacts made from rhino horn and elephant ivory undermines the international conservation protections put in place to save these species from extinction," said Robert G. Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General from the Department of Justice.
Link: Business Standard
December 4 is International Cheetah Day! Sadly, cheetahs remain one of the most popular choices for exotic pets in the Middle East. Stand up for cheetahs by fighting to keep them in the wild—where they belong!
Link: Gulf News
In South Africa, the debate over legalizing the rhino horn trade rages on. Meanwhile, in Asia, the horrific practice of tiger farming continues.
Link: National Geographic
Restaurant owners in Helena, Montana have plead guilty to purchasing bear parts, including 12 bear paws (which were kept in a bucket at the restaurant), three gallbladders, and two bear carcasses. An undercover investigation was launched when a concerned citizen called the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Link: The Montana Standard
For years, Born Free USA has said that owning exotic pets is not ‘cool’—and it seems that the idea is finally catching on. A United Arab Emirates-based columnist has stepped forward to condemn the recent trend of uploading pictures of exotic pets to Instagram.
Link: DOHA News
"Parrot Confidential," produced by Emmy Award winning documentary film producer, Allison Argo, premiered on November 13 on PBS-Nature. The documentary explores the challenges of owning parrots, how breeders and owners become bird rescuers, and conservation efforts in the wild. Watch the film today to get ready for National Bird Day on January 5.
For the first time since 1999, northern Ontario has reintroduced a spring bear hunt to curb "nuisance" bear populations. The hunt has been met with much opposition, and animal advocates including our own Canadian Representative, Barry K. MacKay, are taking strides to reverse this decision.
Link: The Globe and Mail
As nine baboons continue to settle in at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary after being retired from a research lab—what Born Free USA's Executive Vice President, Adam Roberts, calls "a happy ending for these lucky nine"—the discussion turns to the utilization of primates for research purposes. The U.S. remains the world's biggest user of primates in biomedical research, despite developments in alternative research tools that render primate-based research "largely unnecessary."
Link: The Star
In an interview with the Associated Press, Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, explains how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's November 14 ivory crush is intended to deter elephant poaching. Born Free estimates that more than 30,000 elephants were slaughtered just last year: a considerable portion of the entire African elephant population.
On November 14, wildlife conservationists gathered near Denver for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's historic crush of 5.4 tons of elephant ivory. This event raised awareness of the illicit ivory trade, but advocates are still tasked with the complex, expensive challenge to combat dangerous poachers. Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, asserts that night vision gear will be one critical tool for African park rangers to catch elephant poachers in the act.
Link: Denver Post
In an interview with CBS's Denver affiliate, Born Free USA's Executive Vice President, Adam Roberts, discusses the various forms of elephant ivory to be destroyed at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's November 14 ivory crush. Born Free estimates that 32,000 elephants were killed by poachers in 2012 alone.
Link: CBS Denver
Born Free USA's Executive Vice President, Adam Roberts, attended the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's November 14 ivory crush near Denver. Roberts laments, "It's really a tragedy to think that a majestic African Elephant could be relegated to nothing more than piano keys or jewelry around one's neck. But that's still happening today. We have to send a clear message to poachers and smugglers around the world that ivory is not meant for the marketplace."
Link: FDVR Fox31
On Thursday, November 14, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service crushed more than six tons of elephant ivory--consisting of seized tusks, carvings, and trinkets--to raise awareness of the global poaching crisis, and to send the message that the illegal ivory trade will not be tolerated. Born Free USA's Executive Vice President, Adam Roberts, attended the historic crush near Denver.
Link: NBC News
Born Free USA's Executive Vice President, Adam Roberts, explains to Parade Magazine Online 5 reasons why exotic animals make bad pets.
With a historic crush of 5.4 tons of seized elephant ivory coming up next week, Will Travers, CEO of Born Free USA, reflects on Born Free's efforts to end the ivory trade, the harrowing plight of elephants, the U.S. government's involvement—and what still needs to be done.
Link: Huffington Post
Born Free Foundation presents a European film tour for "Blackfish," the acclaimed 2013 documentary that exposes abuse and exploitation in the captive marine mammal industry. Accompanied by a former SeaWorld trainer who will share her riveting accounts, the tour will span 8 European cities in 7 countries to spread the message of compassion.
Link: County Times
Paying a few bucks for a vacation photo-op with a ‘tame’ wild animal—like the now-infamous photo of singer Rihanna posing with a slow loris—may seem cute and harmless, but it perpetuates a horrifying cycle of animal abuse. As a tourist, keep your money in your pockets so that we can Keep Wildlife in the Wild.
Link: Mail Online
Thankfully, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's recent claim -- that shutting down the city's carriage industry would send 210 carriage horses to slaughter -- seems to be false. The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) assures the public that good homes would be found for all of the horses.
Listen to the latest radio interview with Born Free USA's Executive Vice President, Adam Roberts, on Rich Britton's animal-focused radio show, Passionate About Pets. Roberts explains Born Free USA's work, including the most recent baboon rescue at our Primate Sanctuary, fighting the ivory trade, and combating trapping on wildlife refuges.
Link: Passionate About Pets
The Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary is holding a “Baby Blankets for Primates” drive! Donated blankets will provide warmth, enrichment, and security for our residents, many of whom suffered brutal circumstances before arriving at the Sanctuary.
With a sharp increase in incidents involving escaped "pet" snakes harming communities and damaging ecosystems, it's clear why Will Travers, CEO of Born Free USA, opposes the keeping of snakes as pets.
Link: Huffington Post
Keep a primate warm this winter by donating a blanket to the "Baby Blankets for Primates" drive at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary! Tim Ajax, Director of the Sanctuary, says that "blankets can provide comfort to residents who have once been involved and suffered in the exotic pet trade."
Link: One Green Planet
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has designated that 60 chimpanzees, who have spent their entire lives in research facilities, are now eligible for retirement. But, due to budgetary limitations, the chimpanzees are still waiting to be moved to a sanctuary.
Link: ABC News
Great news for endangered shark species: the demand for shark fin soup is finally on the decline in China! Once a sign of social status, consumption of shark fin soup in China has plummeted by 50 to 70 percent in the past two years alone.
Link: Boston Globe
In Uganda's national parks, lion populations are disappearing at alarming rates, largely due to poisoning by local cattle herders. Such sharp declines could damage the local ecosystem and harm Ugandan tourism.
"Blackfish," the hit documentary from the Sundance Film Festival, makes its television premiere on Thursday, October 24, at 9:00pm ET on CNN. The film explores the contentious practice of keeping orcas in captivity, centering on the infamous 2010 story of SeaWorld trainer, Dawn Brancheau, who was killed in front of park-goers by a whale named Tilikum.
Three elephants from the Toronto Zoo have arrived safely at the Performing Animal Welfare Society's wildlife sanctuary in California, following a carefully monitored three-day trek. CTV News interviews Barry MacKay, Born Free USA's Senior Program Associate and Canadian Representative, about the importance of this move.
Link: CTV News
Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary's Alexandra Bowman speaks at the Pumpkins for Primates event in New Braunfels, Texas, where children learn about the hardships facing primates and decorate pumpkins (with non-toxic paint) to give to the primates at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary. The event was presented by the local chapter of Jane Goodall's Roots and Shoots organization.
Link: Herald Zeitung
After years of debate between animal advocates and zoo staff, three elephants from the Toronto Zoo will journey to their new home at the Performing Animal Welfare Society’s (PAWS) wildlife sanctuary in California. Born Free USA applauds the move and wishes the elephants a safe journey and happy life at PAWS.
Link: CBC News, Toronto
At the International March for Elephants, Born Free USA CEO Will Travers gives an impassioned speech about the cruel realities of the ivory trade. (You can also read a transcript of the speech here.)