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