Flo and the 185 other chimpanzees who live at the Alamogordo Primate Facility in New Mexico have not been research subjects for nearly a decade. Now, however, the National Institutes of Health decided to move the elderly chimps to Texas for more research. Animals rights advocates are outraged, including Born Free USA.
Link: The New York Times
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has updated the status of five penguin species as “threatened” effective today (Sept. 2), under the Endangered Species Act — meaning the species are likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. The five penguin species in question are the yellow-eyed penguin, white-flippered penguin, Fiordland crested penguin, Humboldt penguin and erect-crested penguin. They will be added to the federal lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.
A Queens hairdresser is suing a famed artist and owner of a fancy upstate bed-and-breakfast after his pet capuchin monkey mauled her during a weekend visit.
CHICAGO – Two gators in the Chicago River. One strolling down a Massachusetts street. Another in bustling New York City. And that's just in the past few weeks. From North Dakota to Indiana, alligators are showing up far from their traditional southern habitats.
Link: Yahoo! News
A 24-year-old Elyria, Ohio, man has died after being mauled Aug. 18 by a bear owned by Sam Mazzola, an exotic-pet showman who has battled with authorities over his animals for decades. In 2008, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported that Mazzola was permanently stripped of his federal license to exhibit exotic animals. He was fined $13,950 for exhibiting his bear-wrestling act without a license; refusing to allow an inspection of an exhibit; threatening, abusing and harassing federal officials; and illegally selling skunks at an Elyria store.
Link: The Plain Dealer
What are we teaching children when we take them to watch animals be exploited for a few minutes of "entertainment"? Teaching children to be kind and considerate of animals not only creates a sensitivity and respect for animals, but as they grow into adults, those feelings manifest themselves in respectful and considerate interaction with each other. Isn't that what we human beings should be striving for in our lives?
Link: San Jose Mercury News
A federal judge in Montana has stopped the killing of wolves in Montana and Idaho by ordering the wolves put back on the federal threatened list.
Judge Molloy ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had illegally stripped the northern Rockies gray wolf of its Endangered Species Act protections in 2009 by relying on political, rather than biological, reasoning.
Enviro officials cite lax safety under the big top
While protecting the circus-going public is laudable (the risk is real) it’s clear to informed and compassionate people that circuses make play-things out of animals who are forced to perform silly stunts and degrading acts, and are far too often abused behind the scenes and kept in close confinement. The new law is a good step in the right direction by British Columbia, and three cheers for its prompt enforcement.
Once again the overpopulation excuse is provided for allowing the hunt; this time for black bears in New Jersey. As we know, the biological truth is that animals regulate their own populations, based upon available food and habitat. In nature, unaltered by humans, there is no such thing as a "surplus" (or "game") animal. Feel free to let the Department of Environmental Protection commissioner Bob Martin, hear about your disappointment.
With the recent stories of lion meat burgers being served in the states in "honor" of the recent World Cup it is a little less surprising – but still just as tragic – to hear about another totally unnecessary product threatening lions; tiger-bone wine. That's right, tiger bone wine. Can you believe that lion bones have become a cheap substitute for tiger bones?!
Born Free USA applauds New Mexico Gov. Richardson for ordering temporary trapping ban to protect the Mexican Grey Wolf
The Mexican wolf is one of the most endangered animals in North America. The decline in Mexican wolf population has numerous causes, including targeted killing, disease and genetic problems. By their very design traps are inherently cruel and indiscriminate and pose serious risk to wildlife including threatened and endangered species. This ban although temporary, will go far in protecting the Mexican Grey wolf and will hopefully lead to a permanent trapping ban in wolf territory.
Following the frightening incident involving escape of a 9-foot python, later found dead under a neighbor's home, the city of Ravenswood West Virginia passed an ordinance requiring owners of exotic pets to obtain a license and pay a fee to the city.
A coordinated operation undertaken by INTERPOL and supported by Born Free Foundation has resulted in the closure of an illegal ivory factory in Africa and the confiscation of hundreds of kilos of elephant ivory and rhino horn. The sting, dubbed “Operation Mogatle” in honor of the late assistant director of the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks, was the third coordinated effort of its kind in the past three years.
Born Free USA applauds California Citizens for Standing up for Bears
Thanks to the efforts of animal advocates including Born Free USA and our members the California Department of Fish and Game rescinded its bear hunting proposal that would have expanded bear hunting across the state, increased the number of bears killed, and allowed the use of high tech equipment on bear hunting hounds.
Our Animal Loving Public has spoken — and the Government is listening. Today Jim Fitzpatrick, The Animal Welfare Minister, announced that the huge response to the Government’s consultation on keeping wild animals to perform in circuses clearly indicated that this is no longer acceptable and he is ‘minded to pursue a ban on the use of these animals in circuses’.
Born Free Foundation has long campaigned for such a ban and has actively participated in the Government consultation process, believing firmly that a complete ban is the only humane and sensible approach. This view is shared by over 94% of those who responded.
Born Free USA applauds the recent announcement by notorious dolphin trader Chris Porter that he will stop capturing and trading dolphins and that he plans to release his remaining 17 dolphins back to the wild.
According to Porter, he is known as the “Darth Vader of dolphins,” having captured and sold more than 83 dolphins to aquaria around the world, a moniker that will surely change soon if he keeps his word.
As we know first-hand from some of the primates who come to the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary because they were too aggressive or their "owners" became so frightened that the monkey never left their small cage, primates don't make good pets. And can in fact be downright dangerous. We're glad to see that the majority of Illinois lawmakers agree.
State House OKs ban on primates as pets
Sun-Times Springfield Bureau
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials are asking the federal government to remove the gray wolf from the list of endangered and threatened species, saying the state's wolf population has fully recovered and is beginning to cause more conflicts. ... However, at least one animal advocacy group is concerned about Minnesota's petition to remove the wolf from federal protection. Born Free USA, a California-based group involved in the lawsuit to keep the wolf on the endangered list, believes it might be too soon to lift protections for the wolf.
DNR asks feds to remove gray wolf from endangered list
Minnesota Public Radio
Ignoring the plight of polar bears, CITES Parties gathered in Doha at the 15th Conference of the Parties (CoP 15) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) voted to hasten the polar bear's demise by failing to support an uplisting to Appendix I which would have banned all international commercial trade in the bears and their parts.
Follow Born Free USA's reporting of the daily battles of CITES at our CITES tracker.
Wednesday’s death of an orca trainer by Shamu was not an accident — it was an accident waiting to happen. American lives are put at risk in the name of entertainment. There is zero conservation or education value to killer whales performing stunts in captivity. Born Free USA believes that wildlife belongs in the wild. The only question is how many captive wild animal attacks have to happen before our citizens stop attending such events and legislators work to close down these dangerous animal acts.
Vote in the New York Daily News poll if whales should be kept in captivity.
Two men have been indicted in California on charges of smuggling ivory from endangered African elephants into the United States. Samart Chokchoyma of Thailand is accused of selling the ivory on eBay to Moun Chau of Montclair, Calif. Prosecutors in Los Angeles said Tuesday that both men are charged with violating an international treaty that protects endangered species....
Born Free USA has extensive material on the wildlife trade, of which ivory smuggling is just a part.
2 men indicted in Calif. for ivory smuggling
The Washington Post
A leading rights group that works to protect the well-being of wild animals in Canada says that the mauling death of an Ontario man by his tiger is a wake-up call to governments at all levels to prevent people from owning exotic animals. Rob Laidlaw, the executive director of Zoo Check Canada, said the death of Norman Buwalda on Sunday was the result of Ontario's weak laws that make it too easy for people to keep wild animals as pets without any oversight. ... Barry Kent MacKay, the Canadian representative of Born Free USA, another animal rights group, said his organization has been warning communities for years to toughen laws. "We warned these communities to pass these bylaws, because people can have a plethora of animals," MacKay said. "Private owners don't see the danger, they think everything is fine."
Animal groups urge tougher laws after Ontario tiger owner killed
Mark Iype, Canwest News Service
After years of legal wrangling, a decision has been rendered in the Ringling Bros. Circus case. Unfortunately, Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed the case on the grounds that the plaintiffs lacked legal "standing" to pursue their claims. Because he dismissed the case for a lack of jurisdiction, the Judge did not address any of the extensive evidence in the case which showed that the Asian elephants are kept on chains for hours on end and are hit with bull hooks to make them perform tricks in the circus.
Judge rules in favor of circus in lawsuit over treatment of Asian elephants
Del Quentin Wilber
A national animal rights group is blasting Idaho for its treatment of mink, calling the Gem State the third-worst in the nation for its treatment of animals farmed for their fur. According to a news release by the national wildlife advocacy organization Born Free USA, Idaho earned its place near the top of the list for its high number of unregulated mink farms.
Mink treatment draws group’s wrath
Idaho State Journal
All elephants living in Indian zoos and circuses will be moved to wildlife parks and game sanctuaries where the animals can graze more freely. The decision affects around 140 elephants in 26 zoos and 16 circuses in the country. The order followed complaints from animal rights activists about elephants that are kept in captivity and often chained for long hours.
The chaining of elephants is one of our charges against Ringling Bros. in our Federal trial for the circus's abuse of elephants.
India to move all zoo elephants to wildlife parks
The city’s Animal Care Division seized 111 birds last month from an Aurora home last month, claiming that the animals were treated cruelly and forced to live in inhumane conditions. According to court documents, the officer found dirty cages with no water, bedding soiled with feces and several dead mice. The woman is facing several charges related to infractions to the city code, including cruelty to animals, the endangerment of the health and life of an animal, failure to remove feces and humane care charges related to the lack of potable water. The possible fines for the misdemeanor charges range from $15 to $1,000, plus one year in jail.
City seizes 111 birds from Aurora home
The Aurora Sentinel, Aurora, CO
Leading animal advocacy and wildlife conservation organization Born Free USA and leading environmental publication, E Magazine, celebrate the glorious climax of fffashion, their fur free fashion design competition promoting the ethical and environmental benefits of foregoing fur fashions.
fffur Free and Fabulous!
It’s not often that a primate from a research facility, a circus or a backyard zoo gets a second chance, but that’s exactly what happens at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary. Home to over 500 non-human primates, including vervets, baboons and macaques, the sanctuary strives to help these primates heal from their pasts.
Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary: A Place of Healing
Advocacy for Animals
A lifetime of misery is what elephants endure in circuses. They are carted in box cars or trucks from city to city for the majority of the year, forced to perform unnatural tricks under threat of beatings with bullhooks, chained for hours on end, and separated from their families — all for just a few minutes of mindless entertainment.
It's Time to End the Use of Elephants in Circuses
Nicole G. Paquette, Born Free USA
Tune in this Friday, October 16, to “The Nature Connection” at 6:45pm EST (3:45pm PST) to hear Born Free USA’s Adam Roberts talk about big cat conservation and what Born Free USA is doing to help all these magnificent animals!
This interview with Will Travers, CEO of Born Free USA, discusses how the merge with the Animal Protection Institute came to be, and the united organization's mission and methods.
Born Free USA's own Grass Roots Coordinator, Jessica Stout, is featured in this story on dispelling misconceptions about pit bulls.
Pit bull makeover: Shedding new light on the most feared breed in America
Sacramento News & Review
For nine years, Kelly Ann Walz kept the black bear she called "Teddy" as a pet, raising it from cubhood at her hilltop menagerie where she also cared for a mountain lion and tiger. On Sunday night, she went into Teddy's 15-by-15-foot steel and concrete cage, throwing a shovelful of dog food to one side to distract the bear while she cleaned the other side. But the 350-pound bear turned on Walz and attacked her. Walz was pronounced dead at the scene.
Now matter how tame they may seem, wild animals are still wild animals. Born Free USA keeps a database of attacks by captive pets on their possessors.
Pet bear turns on Pa. owner, kills her in cage
The Associated Press
The Learning Channel (TLC) has sunk to an all time low with their new show My Monkey Baby which airs this Sunday, October 4.
The "greatest show on earth" starting at the Rose Garden tonight isn't so great for its largest performers, according to a 2003 lawsuit filed by animal-rights groups against Feld Entertainment, Inc., the parent company of the Ringling Bros. circus. After years of legal wrangling, a verdict is expected shortly. The parties' lawyers delivered their final arguments in March.
Federal court will decide fate of circus elephants soon
Jacques Von Lunen
Born Free USA senior vice president Adam Roberts will be featured on “The Nature Connection” on BlogTalkRadio this Friday, September 18, beginning at 4:00pm PST. Tune in to this exciting show to hear Adam talk about bears in the U.S. and the federal Bear Protection Act. Adam’s portion of the show begins airing at 4:45pm.
Irritated at his family's 20-year-old African grey parrot for disturbing him while watching a NASCAR race on television, a man pulled out a BB gun and shot the bird three times, killing him.
Born Free USA's Senior Program Associate, Monica Engebretson, contributes to this story.
Man Shoots and Kills Pet Parrot For Being 'Annoying'
Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey ("Ringling Brothers") touts itself as the largest animal circus in the world. Its menagerie includes: elephants, horses, tigers, and a variety of other animals. "The Greatest Show on Earth", as it bills itself, is also home to immeasurable pain and suffering.
Discussed are Born Free USA's lawsuit against Ringling and reasons not to attend the circus.
The circus comes to town - and the misery continues
Jean-Pierre Ruiz, Seattle Pet Laws Examiner
A Texas man whose family has circus ties had to give up two Asian elephants, 40-year-old Jewel and 39-year-old Tina. Both were dangerously underweight. Davenport agreed to pay a $3,000 fine, in exchange for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dropping complaints against him for not having proper purchasing permits for the pair. The two elephants were being transported to an undisclosed zoo.
Born Free USA believes elephants have no place in zoos and that they would be better off released to an elephant sanctuary.
2 elephants seized from owner in Texas
Dallas Morning News
A federal agency has granted MGM Mirage a permit to import two Atlantic bottlenose dolphins for public display in Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden on the Las Vegas Strip. Born Free USA and The World Society for the Protection of Animals filed a complaint against the Mirage's petition to import during a 30-day public comment period.
Feds permit MGM Mirage to import 2 dolphins
Las Vegas Sun
Adam Roberts, Born Free USA's Senior Vice President, is quoted in this story on the reintroduced Bear Protection Act.
U.S. Bear Gallbladders Sold on Black Market
National Geographic News
This story was reprinted:
U.S. Bear Gallbladders Sold on Black Market
Bob Barker speaks out for bears in Cherokee, North Carolina, in this blog from Larry King Live. Some of these same facilities were part of our 2005 investigation showing bears kept in horrible conditions — North Carolina still has not taken steps to protect the welfare of these animals.
Cherokee’s Unbearable Bear Pits
Larry King Live blog
Like many people in his generation, Louie Psihoyos grew up watching Flipper and Jacques Cousteau adventures on television. After National Geographic magazine hired him as a staff photographer, his admiration for the intelligence and beauty of dolphins, and for the oceans as an ecological system, grew as he learned how to dive and began to work underwater. But none of that quite prepared him for the experience of making The Cove, an award-winning documentary about the clandestine slaughter of dolphins in Japan.
In a Killing Cove, Siding With Dolphins
The New York Times
In zoo parlance, they’re known as charismatic megafauna. We’re talking lions, tigers, and other large creatures. They are the big-ticket beasts and the reason, historically anyway, why people have come to the zoo. Where there is megafauna, the thinking goes, there will be crowds.
That’s partly what made Ron Kagan’s decision so shocking. The executive director of the Detroit Zoo announced in 2004 that he was voluntarily sending his zoo’s two Asian elephants to a California sanctuary, where the land was plentiful, the weather temperate, and the elephants could roam. The reason, Kagan said, was simple. To paraphrase: The zoo, despite its best efforts, was essentially ruining the elephants’ lives.
Returning wildlife to the wild is part of Born Free USA's mission.
Goodbye, Jumbo: The identity crisis of the modern zoo
The Boston Globe
In this 5-minute news video, Born Free USA's Monica Engebretson talks about her book, Lucky, about the true story of the lorikeet on whom the book is bades, the plight of captive birds, and Born Free USA's work in addressing that.
The Story of "Lucky"
Sacramento & Co.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on Wednesday released what it says is a secretly recorded video showing handlers striking Ringling Bros. circus elephants backstage. PETA says someone affiliated with the group made the recording during a circus tour earlier this year. A Ringling spokeswoman denied PETA's abuse claims. "Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey loves its elephants," she said.
Born Free USA is currently waiting for a ruling on our lawsuit against Ringling for just such abuse.
PETA: Video shows Ringling Bros. abusing animals
It is the sort of headline that grabs your attention: "Toddler Dies, Python Found Coiled Around Her." Wednesday, a 12-foot-long Burmese python appears to have killed a 2-year-old Florida girl. The girl's family owned the python, as well as a 6-foot-long boa constrictor. No doubt, this incident will start a conversation about whether it's a good idea to house exotic pets, especially when there are children involved.
Born Free USA knows it's never a good idea. See our list of incidents involving children and adults who have come into contact with reptiles, often with deadly results.
Python Attack Raises Safety Concerns about Housing Exotic Pets
The Poynter Institute
St. Petersburg, FL
In the circus, you see gentle giants donning funny outfits and performing tricks on tiny tubs. It's anything but an elephant's natural environment. "Should the elephants get out there and perform these tricks every day for the public so you (Ringling Bros.) can make pocket money? Or should it be that the elephants don't have to do this anymore?" asks Tom Rider, a former Ringling employee and plaintiff in the federal lawsuit against the circus.
Lawsuit accuses Ringling Bros. of abusing elephants
Las Vegas KTNV
14 dolphins have died in the 19 years since Steve Wynn opened the Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage. Now, an animal rights group wants to stop the casino from bringing more dolphins to the desert.
Born Free USA's Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson contributes to this video report via phone.
Dolphins in the Desert, seg. 3
Las Vegas Sun
As the Ringling rail cars were unloaded in Las Vegas Tuesday evening, 12 hours before their scheduled arrival, Ringling animal handler Ryan Henning expressed the same sentiments his employer has emphasized in recent years -- mainly, how well circus elephants are treated and how much the big pachyderms enjoy living out of boxcars. "They enjoy it. They travel very comfortably. I would say they travel better than the people in the show. They've got it made," he said.
The article links to the court documents in Born Free USA's trial against Ringling (for violating the Endangered Species Act by cruelly mistreating Asian elephants) which clearly show otherwise.
Circus Arrives in Las Vegas Amid Controversy
KLAS Channel 8, Las Vegas