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 ®.
We’re only one week into September but already we’ve heard reports about two major law enforcement actions that symbolize the widespread, vicious destruction of wild elephants. In Zambia, police in Ndola made three arrests tied to the confiscation of 166 pieces of ivory that were to be transported out of the country. More than 5,000 miles away in Malaysia, 695 elephant tusks destined for China were seized in Kuala Lumpur — the third of three summertime seizures there that totaled more than 1,750 tusks.
Although the general outlook for elephants these days is frightening — by some estimates, about 100 are killed every day in Africa to satisfy the bloody, illegal ivory trade — there have been bits of good news lately: last month, Kenya’s ceremonial burning of hundreds of confiscated illegal ivory tusks, and last week the conviction in the Republic of Congo of a Chinese national who had attempted to smuggle ivory items (five tusks, 80 chopsticks, three carvings, etc.) to China.
A mother bear — confined to a lifetime of abject pain and misery, crammed in a cage with a permanent, gaping hole in her abdomen from which bile is extracted by her thoughtless captors to sell for use in traditional Chinese medicine as a delusional remedy for humans’ liver ailments or sore eyes — sees that in a nearby cage her cub is screaming in agony as a similar, permanent hole is being brutally made in her midsection.
Last Thursday in Shelbyville, Tenn., a “pet” snow monkey escaped from captivity in a private home where four other caged primates later were found without food or water. Yoshi scampered outdoors and bit an unsuspecting neighbor.
Lucy the elephant shall remain alone, in physical and psychological pain, destined to die prematurely, in the Edmonton Zoo. That’s the impact of a ruling issued Thursday by the highest court in Alberta, Canada. Two of its three judges said courts are not the appropriate venue for such an animal rights debate.
Thanks to the determined efforts of Born Free USA staff, the New York state Legislature has approved legislation to restrict the trade in bear gallbladders and bile. The bill is now on its way to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk for his signature.
Eight Orphans Left Behind -— A Pitiful Tragedy We Could Have Prevented
She was the oldest and the wisest.
She had successfully raised eight babies.
She was a celebrated character in the Samburu area of northern Kenya where she lived.
She was an elephant called Khadija.
Now she is dead.
Dear Friends of Wildlife:
Trust me: 9,000 words is a huge article but somehow even the efforts of one of our greatest wordsmiths, Alex Shoumatoff, writing in Vanity Fair (August 2011 edition), could not entirely capture the enormity of the plight faced by elephants across Africa and Asia. But he did a damn fine job, supported by a wonderful portfolio of both heart-warming and distressing images taken by acclaimed photographer Guillaume Bonn.