Born Free USA Blog
by Will Travers,
Chief Executive Officer
What can you say about a big-hearted bloke who has rescued dolphins, tigers, elephants and more and whose parents once helped a lion cub from a department store by caring for him in their backyard and engineering his rightful return to Africa? You can safely say that he's got great animal instincts! In 1984, Will Travers joined his parents — "Born Free" film stars Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers — to form what became The Born Free Foundation. With knowledge, passion and compassion dripping from his every word, Will's blogs are sure to make you embrace our crusade to Keep Wildlife in the Wild ®.
I’m shocked in this day and age to hear that global fur sales are at an all-time high, thanks to surging demand in China, Japan and South Korea. It makes me feel as though a proverbial trap has snapped on us. China, with its rapacious determination to pilfer the world of its wild animals, is not only a major driver in the elephant ivory, tiger bone and bear gallbladder trades, but now is pushing the global fur market. Shame!
Last November a worker was killed in a bear attack at a captive-animal facility in Montana, which we have since come to learn has been the site of several exotic-animal escapes. Benjamin Cloutier, 24, died in a cage he was cleaning that still contained its two residents, Syrian brown bears Griz and Yosemite.
A clear case of negligence, right? An avoidable tragedy?
Born Free USA is greatly saddened by the March 31 slaying of Heritage, a jumbo elephant who had been the first elephant to be outfitted with a GPS collar at the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Heritage, like tens of thousands of African elephants every year, was poached. His tusks were indelicately removed from his carcass, which was left to rot in the Nyakweri Forest.
Good grief, the list of celebrities committing moral crimes against animals is lengthening. Just in the past two years I’ve written about Bob Parsons, Michael Vick, Rosie O’Donnell, Louis Tomlinson and Cee Lo Green.
I am beyond weary of high-profile people who go so low as to treat animals like props or “pets.” And now I have to write about Justin Bieber. Again.
At the 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), world leaders deliberated in Bangkok for two weeks on some of the most important wildlife conservation issues of our time.
So far, discussions about elephants at the two-week CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) meeting in Bangkok have centered around the current poaching crises hitting many African populations. It’s been announced, for example, that more than half of elephants’ deaths are due to poaching, and that poaching outpaces births.
at the Ethiopian wildlife center.
(Born Free Foundation photo)
CITES Parties today considered the delicate issue of the trade in cheetahs from Africa to the Middle East. Born Free strongly supported the document presented by Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda, calling for an important study of legal and illegal trade in cheetahs.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the self-professed world’s largest professional global conservation network and a forum for governments, non-governmental organizations, scientists, business and local communities to meet the challenges facing conservation.