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 ®.
Unlike salmon fishing in the Yemen, lion farming is very real, as reported by The Guardian on Monday. Pictured are two of six pregnant African lionesses waiting in a concrete cage for their soon-to-be-born cubs to be snatched away and shipped off to the Middle East, destined for lives as "trophy pets" in private collections.
Did you hear the news that Iran successfully sent a live monkey into space? Round trip, that is, as part of the country’s nascent space program? Tehran claimed the accomplishment last Monday (Jan. 28) and mainstream media outlets reported the news as fact.
Well, now there are doubts whether the monkey survived. Or even if there was a monkey sent into space at all.
I have just viewed three remarkable online videos. They total less than five minutes, but what they have to say about African elephants — and the assault they continue to face — should resound across the world for as long as it takes to completely stop the bloody ivory trade.
Nine days ago the Indianapolis Colts had a home game against Houston. The halftime entertainment was a monkey riding on the back of a dog who was herding sheep.
Click to see a larger version.
A media report predictably embraced the stunt as cute and funny. Watch the video with a sober eye, however, and you might notice how the monkey, strapped so tightly atop the dog that he was immobile, came within inches of having his head bashed by the side of a wooden hurdle. That, or any fall and tumble by the running dog, presumably would have seriously injured or even killed the monkey.
What a cruel, stupid stunt. Shame on the Colts.
Last week in Ohio, a federal judge upheld the state’s recently enacted restrictions on the private possession of exotic animals.
The ruling wasn’t issued on Christmas morning, and because it was warranted it didn’t feel like a gift, exactly, but nevertheless it brought joy to my world.
A recently released analysis by experts in the field finds African lions have lost 75 percent of their original habitat. The study identifies just 67 isolated regions on the continent where lions now live. Only 15 of those individual regions are believed to contain more than 500 lions, and the total African lion population in the wild is estimated to be between 32,000 and 35,000. A quarter-century ago, there were about 70,000 lions.
Safari Club International, with its offensively hypocritical motto “The leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide,” has not surprisingly come out against our much-needed efforts to have the African lion listed as “endangered” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
More than a year and a half ago we petitioned the Department of the Interior to list the African lion as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) — a vital effort to stop the population decline that has been hurtling the species toward extinction throughout much of its natural range. Today, the Department has published its notice that our petition may be warranted, opening a new 60-day comment period to receive further information on lion conservation and threats.