Born Free USA Blog
by Adam M Roberts,
Chief Executive Officer
When it comes to animals, Adam Roberts not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk. Since beginning his animal advocacy career in Washington, D.C. in 1991, Adam's ambition, tireless involvement, and profound knowledge of conservation and wildlife issues have cemented him as a go-to voice for protecting animals — and he has elevated Born Free USA to the respected and impactful organization that we know today. Adam's compassionate, informed, and forward-thinking blogs will surely motivate you to join us in our fight to Keep Wildlife in the Wild.
Soups, scales, and smugglers
While species such as the African elephant, the lion, the panda, and the tiger tend to represent the precipitous decline of wild animals, the pangolin—an unassuming, solitary creature—is all but forgotten in mass media. Ironically, this relatively unknown animal is among the most coveted, poached, and traded. News reports tell the tale: “officers seized 2.34 tonnes of [pangolin] scales in 115 bags,” “250 kg of pangolin scales seized in France,” “956 frozen pangolins found smuggled into China,”… story after story of pangolin scales and bodies bagged and smuggled across international borders. Unfortunately, the creature’s defense mechanism of rolling into a tight ball aids poachers, who simply pick them up. Each pangolin usually weighs less than 10 pounds, yet pangolins are trafficked around the world by the ton: thousands and thousands of innocent animals slaughtered by the greedy traders.
Charla Nash should not be a household name--at least not because of an attack by a chimpanzee in Connecticut that left her mauled, disfigured, and blind.
On Friday, a U.S. District Court Judge rejected the Safari Club’s effort to overturn a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prohibition on importation of sport-hunted trophies of African elephants from Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Good.
The one thing I’ve certainly learned in more than two decades of animal advocacy is that every person draws a different line at what constitutes compassion: the line at which his or her level of dedication to animals starts or stops.
There’s nothing like spending an evening in a room of Born Free supporters and wildlife enthusiasts!
Having just completed my work in Veracruz, Mexico at the Animals Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, last Friday I flew straight to New York for our annual Art for Conservation event at the terrific Taglialatella Galleries in Chelsea.
Let us pay close attention to the global poaching of elephants for their ivory and rhinos for their horns. And, when I say “close attention,” I don’t mean ‘track the issue, study the numbers, and blithely watch as the populations of these precious species continue to decline;’ I don’t mean ‘urge elephant and rhinoceros range states to do more (and more and more) to stop poaching;’ I don’t mean ‘call for reduction of demand for ivory and horn in Asia.’ I mean “close attention” as in – close to home, right here in America.
Today, I asked my mother to retrieve the fur hats and fur stoles that my beloved grandmother, Carol Adler, had in her Bronx apartment, so we could add them to Born Free USA's "Fur for the Animals" drive. We will donate all of the furs we acquire to wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centers around the country to provide orphaned animals with a comforting bed to envelop them as they heal, revive, and, ultimately, regain enough strength to be returned to the wild—where they belong.
For twenty years, we have been calling attention to the bloody trade in bear parts. It is an intricate global web of illicit wildlife commercialization that leads to American black bears being poached for their gallbladders, which are consumed domestically or smuggled overseas; Russian brown bears killed for their gallbladders, which are shipped throughout Asia or smuggled to America; and endangered Asiatic black bears incarcerated in tiny coffin-like cages, so small that they can’t turn around, forever trapped and “milked” of their valuable bile.