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.
Eighty-eight years ago, a notoriously egocentric newspaperman with more money than sense established what became the largest private zoo in the world — in his back yard, no less! By 1937, the Great Depression and his own extravagant lifestyle had done a number on William Randolph Hearst’s fortunes, and the zoo started to shut down. Today, a few sheep, tahr goats and sambar (large Asian deer) graze on the hilly 82,000-acre central California coast property that contains Hearst Castle, a popular tourist destination.
On Sunday evening, the PBS show “Nature” will be present “Elsa’s Legacy: The Born Free Story.”
It really is a "don’t miss" as it contains some amazing and wonderful footage from this remarkable story and (I have to admit bias here) my dear mother and late father.
As 2011 dawns everyone at Born Free USA is fully energized for a new year of helping the animals in need. Although 2010 was busy, exciting and challenging, we will not rest on our laurels. Not now, not ever.
One of our four top priorities at Born Free USA is to protect wildlife in their natural habitats. We recognize that nature is an extraordinarily intricate web of connections among plants and animals, and that humans — especially starting with the Industrial Revolution — disturb that balance all too often.
Usually I blog about wild animals and what can, or should, be done to protect them. Today I’d like to write about a person who has done such a lot to protect animals for a very long time: sensational British actress Joanna Lumley. She and my mother, Virginia McKenna, are close friends.
Imagine a zoo where monkeys are poked at by visitors as idle guards shrug their shoulders. Where the lone bear eats an empty cigarette pack, as the zoo’s other starving animals also waste away. Where the main “attraction,” a lion, loses an eye in a grenade attack. Where two elephants and a zebra are killed in crossfire between soldiers fighting a civil war. Where a mortar round destroys the entire parrot exhibit.
You would think zoos are all about locking animals up. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? If only they could be free … but wait a minute!
You all know the details because the Born Free USA team has shared them with you before: Bears are forced to perform in circuses; they are forced to live behind zoo bars; they are enticed with bait and shot like “sitting ducks”; they are chased with dogs to make the kill easier for the hunter; they are poached in the wild for their gallbladders and paws; and they are crammed into tiny cages in Asia to be milked for their bile.