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For Immediate Release: 07/13/12

Born Free USA Says Las Vegas Chimp Escape Adds to Growing Epidemic of Preventable Wild Animal Incidences Impacting Animal Welfare and Public Safety

The escape of two chimpanzees from a Las Vegas area backyard Thursday should serve as an eye-opening reminder to the public that wildlife belong in the wild, says Born Free USA.

A leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation and leading experts on the issue of exotic animals kept as pets, Born Free USA 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.

According to Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA, “Last year, close to 60 dangerous exotic animals were released by their owner in the tragic Zanesville, Ohio, case, putting the public in frightening and unnecessary danger. Even after the incident — and many more occurring every month — people continue to want to own primates and other wild animals as pets. How many more animal escapes — or human deaths — need to happen before this ends? Proper regulation must be implemented and the public must stop purchasing exotic animals.”

Born Free USA’s Exotic Animal Incidents database lists more than 1,750 attacks and incidents reported that have occurred since 1990. More than 100 happened in the first half of this year alone.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to the United States 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 Travers, now chief executive officer of both organizations. Born Free’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, publicrelations@bornfreeusa.org, (203) 270-8929.

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