Displaying items by tag: Wildlife Conservation

Future Challenges for Antarctic Penguins as They Adapt to Changing Temperatures Revealed in “State Of Antarctic Penguins 2018” Report on World Penguin Day, April 25, 2018

Oceanites, Inc., a Washington DC based non-profit organization which has championed science-based conservation and decision making for more than 20 years, announced the release of its annual State of Antarctic Penguins 2018 report (SOAP 2018) on World Penguin Day, April 25, 2018

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This large increase in Antarctic temperatures could be a bellwether for the kind of change many fear will happen to those of us in more temperate regions in decades ahead.

Oceanites, Inc., a Washington DC based non-profit organization which has championed science-based conservation and decision making for more than 20 years, announced the release of its annual State of Antarctic Penguins 2018 report (SOAP 2018). The SOAP report (available at https://Oceanites.org/soap) comprehensively summarizes the population size and trends of Antarctica’s five penguin species — Adélie, chinstrap, emperor, gentoo, and macaroni. The report also spotlights future challenges for Antarctic penguins as they adapt to changing temperatures in the region.

The Antarctic penguins total at least 6.1 million breeding pairs nesting at 661 or more sites across the entire Antarctic continent. The report used the most current scientific data, including 3,617 records from 108 sources of on-the-ground colony counts and satellite photo analyses.

The SOAP reports assist a wide variety of Antarctic interests: governments, scientists, NGOs, and the private sector, including fishing and tourism operators, as well as concerned citizens throughout the world.

Oceanites continues to closely track the notable changes in the Antarctic Peninsula, which has undergone a well-documented period of warming over the last six decades of +2˚ C. / 5˚ F. and in winter of +5˚ C. / 9˚ F. This increase is huge, and could be a bellwether for the kind of change many fear will happen to those of us in more temperate regions in decades ahead. In the Antarctic Peninsula, Oceanites’ Antarctic Site Inventory has noted Adélie and chinstrap penguin declines and gentoo penguin increases. However, there are indications that the warming trend has leveled off in recent years with a concomitant stabilization of some Adélie populations.

Ron Naveen, founder and president of Oceanites, noted: “It is through these changes in the Peninsula that we hopefully will better understand how future generations of mankind may or may not adapt to a similar amount of warming in our own backyard. When we see declines in two species while a third thrives, we must ask why such disparate responses? What drives such changes? Is it food supply, nesting and breeding conditions, or diseases? These are the questions we’ll ask when the warming we see today in the Antarctic comes our way.”

About Oceanites
Oceanites is taking the lead in penguin-focused messaging about climate change, so that all of us, working together, may do a better job steering our planet’s future. For additional information about Oceanites please visit https://www.Oceanites.org.

 

New York, NY, USA, August 3, 2017—Today, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and a coalition of other wildlife conservation organizations partnered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to crush nearly two tons of illegal elephant ivory confiscated through state enforcement efforts.

The ivory tusks, trinkets, statues, jewelry and other decorative items, representative of approximately 100 elephants being killed, were crushed in Central Park while the public gathered to watch, sending a clear message that the state will not tolerate wildlife crime that threatens to wipe out Africa’s dwindling elephant population.

"The State of New York is showing today that they are standing by their commitment to save elephants,” said Jeff Flocken, International Fund for Animal Welfare, North American Regional Director said. “The killing won't stop until the demand for ivory ends, and today's crush sends a statement that New York and all the partners gathered here are working to make the end of ivory markets a reality. Ivory belongs on elephants. Period."

New York was the first, of now seven, states to pass state legislation ending the sale of ivory. Since state legislation was passed, NYDEC enforcement efforts have led to a dramatic reduction in illegal ivory sales – going from being the leading US ivory market to the third.

"These actions make it clear that in New York, we condemn the depraved, violent and illegal industry that is ivory sales," Governor Cuomo said."The ivory crush along with our vigilant enforcement efforts take us one step closer to ending this senseless slaughtering of animals - I urge other leaders across the nation and across the globe to join us is working to protect these magnificent threatened species for generations to come."

It is also clear that an overwhelming majority of Americans feel the same way in opposing ivory sales. Recent polling by IFAW found that nearly 80% of Americans support prohibiting ivory sales in the U.S.

The crush comes as federal and state initiatives are underway to curtail the ivory and other wildlife trade in the U.S. IFAW has played a critical role in passing bans in the top three states for illegal wildlife trade – New York, California and Hawaii – in addition to New Jersey, Washington, Oregon and Nevada and continues to forge ahead fighting for stronger protections for wildlife everywhere.

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on social @action4ifaw and Facebook/IFAW.

 

Washington, D.C., May 1, 2017 – Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, and The Body Shop have announced a new partnership that will benefit the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary. With The Body Shop’s new Love Your Body™ Club rewards program, its members earn points with every purchase. Those points become rewards, which members can use to treat themselves to their favorite product, or choose to help care for rescued monkeys by donating the rewards to the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary.

Additionally, Love Your Body™ Club members will be entered into a contest to win a once-in-a-lifetime grand prize trip for two to Texas for a behind-the-scenes look at the sanctuary, which is not open to the public.

According to Angela Grimes, interim CEO of Born Free USA, “Born Free USA and The Body Shop are both committed to compassion. We are thankful for The Body Shop’s generosity in choosing us as the sole beneficiary for this campaign. Born Free USA assures The Body Shop customers that their donations will go directly toward the critical support and care for more than 600 monkeys at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary.”

The Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley, Texas (75 miles south of San Antonio) is the only one of its kind in the U.S. in that the majority of its residents—ages two to 34—live in free-ranging groups in natural enclosures of several acres. The sanctuary provides a safe, permanent home for its residents, many of whom were rescued from roadside zoos, private possession, or retired from research facilities. In order to allow residents the maximum amount of privacy and freedom, the sanctuary is not open to the public. The Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS). 

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

The Love Your Body™ Club demonstrates The Body Shop’s inherent belief that business can be a force for good, and exemplifies the commitment to enrich, not exploit. The Love Your Body™ Club not only offers exciting rewards for consumers, but also provides a unique opportunity to directly contribute to its charity partner, Born Free USA.

The Body Shop’s motto is simple: make products that make you look and feel so good. At the heart of feeling good is loving yourself, including your body. The Body Shop was founded in 1976 by Dame Anita Roddick in Brighton, England, starting with the belief that business could be a force for good. The Body Shop has always done things differently and created innovative, naturally-inspired products. Today, its Enrich Not Exploit™ Commitment is stronger than ever. Dedicated to enriching people as well as the planet, The Body Shop works fairly with farmers and suppliers, and helps communities thrive through its Community Trade program. The Body Shop has never tested any of its ingredients or products on animals and never will. An iconic British retail brand with an extensive and growing global presence, it now employs more than 22,000 people in more than 60 countries around the world. It has exported innovative products, created campaigns that matter, and believes in an ethical approach to business and its unique English reverence to countries all over the globe.

 

Washington, D.C., March 9, 2017 -- Today, Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, announced support for the reintroduction of the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act (H.R. 1438) in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY). This bill would ban the use or possession of body-gripping animal traps including snares, Conibear traps, and steel-jaw leghold traps within the National Wildlife Refuge System.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is clear: to be an inviolate sanctuary for our native wildlife. Dangerous, indiscriminate body-gripping traps simply have no place on these federal protected lands. The brutality of these traps cannot be overstated. Steel-jaw leghold traps and Conibear traps slam shut with bone-crushing force, causing massive injury and trauma. Animals trapped in strangulation neck snares—designed to tighten around an animal’s neck as he or she struggles—also suffer in extreme agony for an unconscionable amount of time. Born Free USA commends Congresswoman Lowey for leading the effort to end this cruelty and urges swift passage of the legislation to ensure that national wildlife refuges are safe havens for wildlife.”

“We must restore the true meaning of ‘refuge’ to the National Wildlife Refuge System,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “This critical legislation will ban indiscriminate body-gripping traps on public land, which not only endanger wild animals but also the millions of visitors who enjoy our nation’s 566 refuges each year. These violent devices are simply not worth the devastation of even one accident. It is past time we ensure the entire National Wildlife Refuge System remains safe for animals and families alike.”

The National Wildlife Refuge System encompasses the most comprehensive and diverse collection of fish and wildlife habitats in the world, and provides a home for more than 380 endangered species. Overall, the National Wildlife Refuge System harbors species of more than 700 birds, 220 mammals, 250 reptiles and amphibians, and 1,000 fish. Despite its mission “to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans,” more than half of all national wildlife refuges allow trapping on refuge grounds.

“More than 100 other countries have either severely restricted or outright banned the use of steel-jaw leghold traps. It is inexcusable to allow these and other cruel traps on land specifically set aside to be safe havens for wildlife. Additionally, the millions of people who visit national wildlife refuges every year with their families and companion animals should be able to enjoy American refuges without the fear of stepping into a cruel, hidden trap and getting injured or killed.” Roberts added.

Born Free USA urges other members of Congress to join Congresswoman Lowey in support of H.R. 1438.

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, the organization leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation”—the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free USA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

 

“Online ads have made the dangerous and cruel exotic pet trade easier than ever before. People are purchasing ‘pet’ monkeys, tigers, wolves, snakes, and more with one quick click.” – Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA

Washington, D.C., October 27, 2016 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, released a new report today exposing the rampant online trade of exotic animals as “pets" such as monkeys, lions, tigers, cheetahs, wolves, kangaroos, foxes, snakes, sloths, and more. Downloading Cruelty: An Investigation into the Online Sales of Exotic Pets in the U.S. analyzes the shocking numbers of these animals for sale online, and looks at how easy it is to purchase potentially dangerous species.

While the majority of the approximately 80 million pet-owning households in the U.S. have a dog or cat, an estimated 15,000 primates (chimpanzees, capuchins, lemurs, marmosets, and more), 10,000-20,000 big cats (tigers, lions, cheetahs, and others), 13.3 million small mammals (kinkajous, sugar gliders, and others), and 9.3 million reptiles (including snakes and turtles) are owned in homes across the nation as “pets.” 

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “It is shockingly easy to purchase exotic animals online, and the proliferation of online sales has facilitated the delivery of exotic animals to untrained people who are ill-prepared for the responsibility of caring for them. Our report uncovers the sheer volume of animals sold online. The patchwork of exotic animal laws allows breeders, sellers, and owners to perpetuate a trade with very minimal oversight. Despite claims made by exotic animal breeders, not one of these animals is ‘tame’ and their needs cannot be met in captivity. There have been hundreds of attacks on humans that demonstrate the severe danger they pose, and they can also transmit serious and potentially deadly diseases to humans, including salmonella and hepatitis.”

Despite these risks, neither federal nor most state laws adequately prevent the widespread sale of exotic animals by breeders and owners, nor do they set forth requirements for species-specific information that must be shared in the transaction. Sellers are not required to disclose crucial health or behavior information, and buyers are not required to demonstrate an understanding of how to care for the animal. The fundamental lack of oversight and enforcement, coupled with ease of availability due to the internet, has created a scenario in which millions of dangerous animals are being bred, shipped, and purchased around the U.S. The public is largely unaware of the dangers this trade poses, and millions of animals are suffering and dying in the process.

The report reviewed nearly 2,000 online classified ads during a three-month period (March-June 2016) across four different websites (exoticanimalsforsale.net, hoobly.com, usfreeads.com, and petzlover.com). Report highlights include:

  • The volume of advertised animals is shocking. At least 3,706 individual exotic animals were listed for sale over three months.
  • The exotic pet trade is taking place across the nation and crisscrosses state lines. The locations of the ads showed sellers in 49 states and Washington, D.C.
  • The breakdown of species for sale revealed a thriving trade in highly diverse species: 603 primates, 335 exotic cats, 439 canids, 263 snakes, and many others.
  • Exotic pet breeders churn out baby animals for profit. Juvenile animals (under one year of age) were the most popular, with 2,039 (55% of total animals) listed for sale.
  • Advice on animal care and welfare is almost entirely lacking. Most ads did not provide any history of the animal, give information on the animal’s health or behavior, or offer any instructions for care.
  • The welfare of most animals advertised was not a priority. Some individuals for sale were kept in isolation or were reported as being injured. Ads also offered animals as “swaps” or “quick sales.”
  • Safety was overlooked by the sellers. Despite all of these animals being unsuitable for a home, and most posing a potential danger to humans, only nine ads out of the nearly 2,000 ads warned that the animal could pose any sort of risk to the buyer.

For the complete report, go to www.bornfreeusa.org/DownloadingCruelty.

Born Free USA Program Associate Kate Dylewsky, lead author of the report, added, “Online ads have made this horrific pet trade easier than ever. The astonishing volume of animals advertised, along with the uninformative content provided, demonstrates how these sales are an unregulated free-for-all that negatively impacts the animals’ welfare and the safety of the public. The findings of the Downloading Cruelty report reaffirm Born Free USA’s commitment to ending the abusive, dangerous, and sometimes deadly ownership of exotic animals. This must stop.”

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

 

Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood and the Drum Workshop snare drum “Rumours” created in his honor.

Music legend and wildlife advocate Mick Fleetwood has chosen the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) as the benefiting charity of the Drum Workshop snare drum “Rumours,” created in his honor and named after Fleetwood Mac’s most iconic album. “Rumours” is a limited edition collection (only 250 produced) handmade with maple and custom gold hardware and created with input from the artist himself. The album’s cover art is recreated in hand-inlaid exotic woods.

Fleetwood, who is a long-time Hawaii resident and business owner in Maui, worked with IFAW to support passage of a state bill that cracks down on trafficking of ivory and other wildlife products from imperiled species. He joined other Hawaii-based musicians, actors and business leaders in signing an open letter in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser encouraging residents to support this legislation. In addition, Mick hosted an IFAW event at his restaurant, “Fleetwood’s on Front Street,” that was attended by notable Hawaii residents and wildlife supporters who wanted to learn about the issue and join the effort. Mick also submitted testimony to the House Committee on Water and Land Committee and the House Committee on Judiciary, urging lawmakers to protect wildlife and make Hawaii a leader in global conservation efforts.

In early May, the Hawaii legislature passed this landmark legislation, making it the fifth state in the nation to prioritize endangered species over trade in unnecessary wildlife products. Elephants, rhinos, tigers, and countless other species face unprecedented threats – from habitat loss to rampant poaching – but this successful fight shows that we can make a difference.

We sincerely thank Mick for his passionate support of this campaign and his leadership in raising awareness and funds for IFAW’s work to protect imperiled wildlife.

The Rumours snare drum can be purchased here.

 

“New Jersey is a major hub for imports and transportation of body parts of endangered species.” – Born Free USA CEO

Washington, D.C., May 3, 2016 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, commends Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey for signing S. 977 into law—a bill that would ban the possession, transport, import, export, processing, sale, or shipment of lions, tigers, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and cape buffalos. These animals are endangered species that fall victim to trophy hunting.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “New Jersey is a major hub for imports and transportation of body parts of endangered species. We are thankful for Senator Raymond Lesniak’s leadership on this bill, which is crucial to protecting imperiled species. We commend Governor Christie for signing this bill into law. Born Free has studied wildlife trafficking for more than two decades, and we can conclude that trophy hunting does nothing to enhance conservation. In 2013, Born Free USA, along with partner organizations, commissioned Economists at Large to investigate the facts.  The study proved that the trophy hunting industry makes a minimal contribution to national incomes. As a portion of any national economy, trophy hunting revenue never accounts for more than 0.27 percent of the GDP."

Under this legislation, those violating the law will be guilty of a third degree crime and fines of up to $75,000. The law will go into effect Monday, May 26, 2016, after the Senate and Assembly concur with the governor's conditions.

According to Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-NJ), who sponsored the bill, “Our ban will send a strong message to those who would endanger the very existence of these majestic animals to avoid bringing their ‘trophies’ into New Jersey and better yet, give it up entirely.”

This critical piece of legislation comes less than a year after the tragic death of Cecil the lion, who was allegedly lured outside of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and killed by an American hunter. He was shot with an arrow, injured, and tracked for 40 hours before finally being shot with a gun, beheaded, and skinned. The U.S. is a significant market for hunting “trophies” like Cecil. State laws banning the importation of these products are aimed at reducing the demand. Roberts adds, “Born Free USA encourages other states to pass similar legislation in order to protect imperiled species from extinction and ultimately put an end, once and for all, to this horrific ‘sport.’”

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation”—the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

West Virginia is one of only eight states that lack any substantive restrictions for wild and exotic animals kept by private individuals

Washington, DC, January 21, 2014 -- Born Free USA, a leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, applauds West Virginia state senator Bob Beach (D- Monongalia) for introducing S.B. 371 -- “Prohibiting Possession of Wild and Exotic Animals.”  The bill seeks to improve animal welfare and protect the public from potentially dangerous exotic animals by enacting stricter regulations on exotic animal ownership. West Virginia is one of only eight states that lack any substantive restrictions for wild and exotic animals kept by private individuals, and Senator Beach’s bill would fix this glaring and dangerous legal oversight.

Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA said, “The exotic pet trade is immeasurably cruel to wild animals. These so-called ‘pets,’ endure miserable conditions in captivity – they are usually locked up, isolated, and deprived of the ability to express their natural behaviors. Private owners often extract their teeth and fingernails, among other barbaric practices, in an attempt to ‘tame’ them.  Wild animals belong in the wild and can never be tamed. We cannot allow animals to be mutilated in the name of so-called companionship.”

S.B. 371 would ban the private possession of all “wild and exotic animals” in West Virginia, which are defined as any animals other than domestics and livestock. Exotic animals owned prior to the enactment of this bill can be kept, as long as the owner obtains a permit. The bill is narrowly crafted to ensure that only private owners are affected.  This bill does not apply to accredited exhibitors, nonprofits, animal control agencies, wildlife rehabilitators, veterinary clinics, sanctuaries, researchers, or educational institutions.

“It is time for West Virginia to follow the lead of 42 other states and pass legislation regulating exotic pet ownership,” said Roberts. “Senator Beach has made a powerful statement by introducing this bill, and I hope these long-overdue safeguards are implemented in West Virginia.”

These safeguards are crucial not only for animal welfare, but also for the protection of communities. Born Free USA maintains a database that tracks incidents involving exotic pets (www.bornfreeusa.org/database). Since 2000, there have been at least seven reported incidents in West Virginia of exotic pets escaping and threatening public safety.  In Huntington, a 13-year-old girl suffered injuries after being bitten by a “pet” capuchin monkey. In Berkeley County, another monkey who was suspected of having hepatitis B bit three children. Wild and exotic animals can not only injure people, but also pose a disease risk. Primates alone can transmit Ebola, tuberculosis, and herpes-B to humans.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade.  Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.  More at www.bornfreeusa.org, at Twitter www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and on Facebook facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

Allen to Emcee “Born to Ride for Wildlife” April 2013 event in Sacramento

Sacramento, CA, January 31, 2013 -- Born Free USA, a national leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, has announced that award-winning television news reporter and anchor Mark S. Allen, will host "Born to Ride for Wildlife," a fundraising event on Thursday, April 25, 2013 (6:00 PM to 9:00 PM) at Beatnik Studios in Sacramento, CA (2421 17th Street), which will feature a raffle of a 2013 Harley Davidson Iron 883 Sportster valued at over $8,000.

According to Born Free USA Executive Vice President Adam Roberts, “We are excited that Mark will be hosting our event and help bring attention to our mission to keep wildlife in the wild. He has a wonderful stage presence and thinks on his feet with humor and intelligence, so we know that he will be sure that the crowd is having a fabulous time!”

Allen says, "The movie Born Free is actually the very first memory I have of ever seeing a movie in a theater and the message has been a part of me ever since. It's fate that all these years later this amazing group at Born Free USA -- a wildlife conservation group founded by the film's stars -- has approached me to host their Sacramento fundraiser. This is a huge honor for me, and I promise an awesome, fun, and most importantly fulfilling night for all!"

Mark S. Allen is a three-time Emmy Award winner, the entertainment anchor for “Good Day Sacramento” on CW/CBS Sacramento, and the producer/host of Mark@TheMovies on CW31 and Reelz Channel Network. He also had a show on Comedy Central for two years called Short Attention Span Theater, and co-hosted a nationally syndicated television show with Lisa Ling called Scratch.

Tickets for the event and the motorcycle raffle are available through www.bornfreeusa.org/borntoride and can also be purchased by calling 916-447-3085 ext. 202. The winner does not need to be present at the event in order to claim their prize. Only 200 tickets will be sold (a one in 200 chance to win).

Tickets to attend the gala and enter the raffle are $100 which includes admission for two to the party; food and beverage; a live performance by Jesse Kalin & the Cool Black Kettle; and silent and live auctions. Event-only tickets (no raffle entry) are $50 per person.

All event proceeds will go to Born Free USA's advocacy work to protect wild animals from cruelty and conserve endangered species.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

 Leader in elephant and wildlife conservation Will Travers, CEO of Born Free USA, is shocked at being expelled

Geneva, August 17, 2011 - -  In a shocking move that could not have been anticipated, some of the world’s leading wildlife conservation organizations were this morning summarily expelled from an international meeting on wildlife conservation in Geneva, Switzerland by a seven to six vote.  

The move was initiated by the government of Kuwait on behalf of the Asian region and was supported by Botswana, Iran, Kuwait, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica and Norway. The organizations were removed from deliberations concerning elephant conservation, the international trade in ivory, and concerns regarding China’s increasing involvement in illegal ivory trade.  There is a fear that the decision may set a precedent and that such methods may be used to exclude NGOs and civil society from participating in debates on other issues such as rhino and tiger trade.

The measure was approved at the 61st Standing Committee meeting of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), despite the strong objections of the UK and Kenya. Democratic Republic of Congo, Bulgaria, Ukraine, United States of America and Australia also voted against the action in an effort to support transparency and public participation.  A simple majority in favor meant that the Species Survival Network (SSN),  Born Free Foundation, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Humane Society International, Environmental Investigation Agency, Elephant Family, World Wildlife Fund, and numerous others - -organizations with decades of experience working on the frontline of wildlife conservation and representing tens of millions of members of the public from around the world - -  now sit in the lobby of the CIGC (Centre International de Conférences Genève) unable to assist and participate in debates on which the future of wild elephants may depend.

Will Travers, President of the SSN and CEO of Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation said, “I am almost lost for words.  This is a terrible precedent and jeopardizes the effective conservation of not only elephants but potentially many other species if we are prevented from participating in other debates.  The SSN, together with the American delegation nearly a decade ago successfully championed the participation of civil society representatives in Standing Committee meetings which, until this morning have been as open and transparent as possible, in line with UN principles.  That achievement, on behalf of the citizens of the world, is now in jeopardy.  Clearly, there is a coordinated initiative by some Parties to stifle open debate.  This simply must not be allowed to happen.”

Conservation organizations of all persuasions have played an active and positive role in helping CITES achieve meaningful and positive results for species that are or may be threatened by international trade.  In addition, thanks to the generosity of the general public, they contribute tens of millions of dollars each year to conservation efforts in some of the world’s most vulnerable places. 

Travers concluded, “This is a bleak day for principles that we all should hold dear - the principles of openness, transparency, accountability and responsibility.  It is imperative that CITES, a Treaty to which more than 175 countries subscribe, addresses this matter as a high priority and ensures and enshrines the participation of individuals, organizations and experts who have only one thing in common, their desire to ensure the long-term, sustainable survival of life on earth.”

The plight facing elephants

In 2009, over 20 tonnes of ivory was seized and countries have started to report localized extinctions of very vulnerable elephant populations. Since Standing Committee last met in March 2010, over 23 tonnes of ivory have been seized by customs and police agencies worldwide and so far this year at least 11.5 tonnes have been seized.  More at www.bloodyivory.org

SSN

The Species Survival Network (SSN), founded in 1992, is an international coalition of over eighty non-governmental organizations (NGOs) committed to the promotion, enhancement, and strict enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Through scientific and legal research, education and advocacy, the SSN is working to prevent over-exploitation of animals and plants due to international trade. www.ssn.org

Born Free USA

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade.  Born Free’s Primate Sanctuary in Texas is home to more than 500 primates rescued from laboratories, roadside zoos, and private possession. Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.  More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

CITES

The international trade in wild animals and plants is worth billions of dollars every year. Levels of exploitation and rates of wild capture can have a serious detrimental impact on the future survival of thousands of animal and plant species across the globe. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) is an international agreement between Governments, which provides varying levels of protection for species that are or may be in danger of extinction as a result of the impact of  international trade. www.cites.org