An insatiable Chinese demand for ivory and the increasing involvement of organized crime syndicates in smuggling are causing the mass killing of Africa’s elephants, and could trigger a stampede to extinction if unchecked, according to a groundbreaking report released today by Born Free USA and C4ADS. Out of Africa: Mapping the Global Trade in Illicit Elephant Ivory asserts that “poaching and trafficking in ivory is at the highest level in 25 years.” According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “The more we can attack the ivory trade before the ivory gets to market, the more we can deter these poachers and profiteers from making money off dead elephants."
Link: NBC News
A giant snake bit one of Nicki Minaj’s backup dancers during a Friday rehearsal for the MTV Video Music Awards. The six foot long Boa constrictor brought the mock performance to a halt when it slithered up to the woman and took a bite out of her, as fellow performers looked on in disbelief. Visit the Born Free USA Exotic Animal Incidents Database to learn more about the dangers of interacting with exotic animals.
Link: New York Post
SeaWorld’s orca trainers will stay out of the water following the park’s decision to give up its appeal to overturn a federal appeals court ruling in April. That decision upheld the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s citations against SeaWorld for various violations, including some linked directly to the death of one of its trainers in 2010.
Hollywood mogul and co-creator of The Simpsons, Sam Simon, has purchased a chinchilla farm in Southern California as part of a drive by animal rights activists to close the breeding facility. The 425 chinchillas were moved to much larger cages at two local humane society branches, where they will be available for adoption. "This is your last day of abuse," Simon told the animals, as he walked through the facility's cramped rows of mesh-wire cages. "This is your first day of freedom."
A two-month-old rhesus macaque named Bubbles—who has quickly gained fame as an internet sensation—is being raised by a Texas woman who treats the monkey as if she were a human child. “Keeping animals in unnatural conditions means they are put at physical and mental risk,” said Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA. “That mentality…is a very human-centered view of what the animal wants and needs and can withstand…as opposed to one that puts the animal's needs first.”
A new study published on Monday found that, between 2010 and 2012, poachers killed an estimated 100,000 elephants across Africa: a huge spike in the continent’s elephant death rate. This surge largely stems from an increased demand for ivory in China and other Asian nations. The study, which was carried out by the world’s leading elephant experts, warns that if this rate of slaughter continues, it will lead to the extinction of the species.
Link: CBS News
Shares of SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS), which operates 11 theme parks, plummeted more than 33 percent on Wednesday, hitting an all-time low. The problem: Worries about claims of mistreatment of killer whales at its SeaWorld locations hurt attendance, and it slashed its earnings outlook.
Link: CBS News
Listen to a brand new radio interview with Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, in which he discusses the dire need to protect lions from extinction—and what Born Free USA is doing to help.
Link: BYU Radio