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For Immediate Release: 10/19/11

Born Free USA Says Wild Animal Incident in Ohio Spotlights the Tragedy and Danger of Keeping Wild Animals in Captivity

Exotic Animal Incidents Online Database Highlights National Epidemic

Born Free USA, a leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation — and a force in working to keep wildlife in the wild — says Tuesday’s incident in Ohio is devastating for the animals and the public. This morning police are still trying to chase down frightened and confused wild animals, including bears, wolves and tigers, who have escaped from a “private preserve” in Zanesville, Ohio.

According to Will Travers, Born Free USA’s chief executive officer and who is in the United States this week from the United Kingdom on a speaking tour, said this morning, “Born Free fears for everyone’s safety in Ohio and wants this horrific situation to serve as a brutal reminder that wildlife belong in the wild and that no one should ever put the animals or the public at risk by trying to confine them in a zoo, circus, backyard or home, where serious injury or death can occur at any time. Laws have to be created and enforced to stop these potential situations at the source. No one should be allowed ever to ‘own’ a wild animal. Period.”

Born Free USA, a leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, tracks such incidents through its online database, designed as a resource for the media, lawmakers, activists and the public to help shed light on the magnitude of the issue.

The database lists some 1,600 attacks and incidents reported that have occurred since 1990, searchable by state, species and keyword, and includes a map graphic marking each location — a shocking visual to illustrate how geographically widespread the problem is.

Every year, captive exotic animals — kept in zoos, circuses or as private “pets” — are involved in incidents that result in human injury or death. Keeping wild animals in captivity is inherently cruel, as it deprives them of the ability to freely engage in instinctual behaviors in their natural environment.

Born Free USA (BFUSA) is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation and public education, BFUSA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and destructive international wildlife trade. BFUSA’s Primate Sanctuary in Texas is home to more than 500 primates rescued from laboratories, roadside zoos and private possession. BFUSA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation,” the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film “Born Free,” along with their son Will, now CEO of both organizations. BFUSA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.

More at www.bornfreeusa.org; on twitter at http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; and facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

Media Contact: Rodi Rosensweig, (203) 270-8929; rodicompany@earthlink.net.

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