Displaying items by tag: Wildlife

President Trump’s proposed 2018 federal budget would gut major programs and protections for birds and America’s public lands, putting decades of conservation achievements at risk. With so much on the line, it’s imperative that we send Congress a loud, unmistakable message that such extreme cuts will not stand.

Drastic reductions in the proposed federal budget would scale down on-the-ground conservation at a time when one-third of migratory bird species, including the Kentucky Warbler (shown), are already in decline. Birds are sensitive indicators of environmental health as a whole, and the loss of migratory birds signals a potential crisis that Congress must act now to reverse.

But that’s not all: Three federal agencies critical to bird conservation—the Department of Interior, the Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency—are facing drastic budget cuts that will significantly reduce federal bird protections.

If we want migratory birds to bounce back, it’s critical that Congress prioritize and fund the following:

  • The Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, critical to the restoration of habitat for migratory birds throughout the Western Hemisphere.
  • Migratory Bird Joint Ventures, North American regional partnerships that work across political boundaries and levels of government to achieve conservation success for birds and their habitats.
  • Endangered Species Act, in order to fully recover endangered and threatened bird species.
  • Farm Bill conservation programs, like Conservation Reserve Program, which preserve habitat for birds by providing conservation incentives to private landowners.
  • EPA’s Pesticides Program, critical to protecting birds from deadly pesticides like neonicotinoids used in agriculture.

Please act now! Tell your Senators and Representative: Make protecting migratory birds and the conservation programs they depend on a priority. Thank you.

Partnership Aims to Turn the Tide for Migratory Birds

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">Jennifer Howard, Director of Public Relations, American Bird Conservancy, 202-888-7472

(Washington, D.C., March 13, 2017) Two leading bird conservation groups, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, have launched “Science to Action,” a partnership aimed at reversing decades of population declines for migratory birds in the Americas. Bringing together the Cornell Lab’s cutting-edge science and ABC’s on-the-ground approach to bird conservation, this joint effort represents new hope for hundreds of declining species that journey each spring and fall between their breeding grounds in North America and wintering grounds in Latin America and the Caribbean.

ABC and the Cornell Lab are combining their strengths at a critical moment for migratory birds. Landmark conservation measures such as the Endangered Species Act are being targeted for elimination even as environmental threats mount. As the most recent State of North America's Birds report makes starkly clear, fully one-third of our continent's bird species will require concerted conservation efforts to ensure their future.

The ABC-Cornell Lab partnership will focus on how new data and conservation tools can be harnessed to enhance conservation of migratory birds across their breeding and wintering grounds, as well as stopover sites in between.

“The Cornell Lab’s dedicated science team and its depth of citizen-science data make it a perfect fit for informing better conservation decision-making by ABC,” said George Fenwick, President of ABC.

“The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and American Bird Conservancy share common values and complementary expertise for protecting wild bird populations across the Western Hemisphere,” said John W. Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of Cornell Lab. “With so many bird species showing alarming declines, it is more important than ever that the Lab work closely with ABC, combining our scientific focus and citizen-science data with ABC’s effective conservation actions.”

Kenneth V. Rosenberg, Applied Conservation Scientist at the Cornell Lab, is leading the new partnership. “Our two organizations will provide a unified voice for bird conservation, applying the best science on the ground at important natural areas and informing policies that affect the future of bird populations,” he said.

Together the partners will:

  • Leverage data and resources from the Cornell Lab to refine and prioritize ABC’s conservation strategies, including ABC BirdScapes—landscape-scale areas critically important to targeted bird species. Such data are key to answering the “Where and when?” questions that drive ABC’s conservation planning.
  • Identify and develop conservation strategies for key migratory stopovers. Researchers are learning that the success of migration may hinge on just two or three stopovers located strategically along the migration route for each species. One chief goal of the partnership is determining how we can best conserve these stopover sites.
  • Use citizen-science data from eBird to help monitor and evaluate the success of ABC reserves and projects—the “Did it work?” piece of ABC’s conservation efforts.
  • Provide science support for Migratory Bird Joint Ventures, and leadership for conservation alliances such as Partners in Flight and the North American Bird Conservation Initiative’s State of the Birds reports.

(Photo: ABC and the Cornell Lab will work together to identify and protect habitats that sustain migration for some of North America's most-loved species, including Blackburnian Warbler.)

###

American Bird Conservancy is the Western Hemisphere's bird conservation specialist—the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds. Its hallmarks are scientific excellence and technological innovation to advance the understanding of nature and to engage people of all ages in learning bout birds and protecting the planet. The Cornell Lab is a nonprofit organization whose mission is supported by friends, members, and more than 400,000 citizen-science participants.

Talkin' Pets News

March 11, 2017

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Jeremy Miller

Producer - Zach Budin

Network Producer - Quin McCarthy

Executive Producer - Bob Page

Special Guests - Deirdre Franklin, co-author of The Pit Bull Life will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 3/11/17 at 5pm EST to discuss and give away her new book

Melinda Miller, Earth Animal VP of Product Management & Finance, will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 3/11/17 at 630pm EST to discuss and give away their Organic Oven-Baked Cookies for dogs

 

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.

 

March 1, 2017

New York, NY – In a highly controversial move, South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) recently announced plans to formalize the country’s legal trade in captive-bred lion skeletons, proposing to institute a quota of 800 skeletons per year eligible for export permits. The number of captive-bred lion carcasses legally exported from South Africa—primarily feeding a growing market among upwardly mobile Asians for luxury products such as lion bone wine—has grown exponentially since 2007, as lion bones have begun to fill demand for increasingly scarce tiger bones.

Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, condemned the quota as arbitrary and potentially devastating for wild lion and critically endangered tiger populations. Panthera is calling on the DEA to institute a moratorium on lion bone exports, effective immediately.

“The government’s proposed quota of 800 lion skeletons for legal export has absolutely no grounding in science,” said Dr. Paul Funston, Senior Director of Panthera’s Lion Program. “It is irresponsible to establish policy that could further imperil wild lions—already in precipitous decline throughout much of Africa—when the facts are clear; South Africa’s lion breeding industry makes absolutely no positive contribution to conserving lions and, indeed, further imperils them.”

Dr. Funston continued, “It is confounding that a country whose iconic wild lions are such a source of national pride—not to mention tourist revenue—would take such risks to sustain a marginal captive breeding industry that is condemned globally for its shameful practices. The legal farming of lions for tourists to bottle-feed, pet, and ultimately hunt in tiny enclosures is a stain on South Africa’s reputation as stewards of Africa’s wildlife.”

Proponents of the captive lion trade argue the industry reduces demand for wild lion parts, thereby benefitting wild lion conservation. However, there is significant evidence that South Africa’s legal trade in captive-bred lion trophies is accelerating the slaughter of wild lions for their parts in neighboring countries and is in fact increasing demand for wild lion parts in Asia—a market that did not exist before South Africa started exporting lion bones in 2007.

Recent anecdotal data and press reports from neighboring countries show an increase in lion killings for their bones and parts:

  • In 2016, 90% of lion carcasses from Limpopo National Park, Mozambique had skull, teeth, and claws removed
  • Rates of poisoning of lions specifically for body parts have increased dramatically in Niassa National Reserve, Mozambique
  • A 6kg consignment of lion claws and teeth was found in an illegal rhino horn apprehension in Maputo in 2016
  • In northern Namibia in 2016, 42% of lions killed in the Zambezi Region of Namibia (n=17), had their heads, feet, tails, skins and claws removed. In a previous spate of lion killing in the region in 2014 no body parts were removed from 20 lions that were killed

Panthera President and Chief Conservation Officer, Dr. Luke Hunter, added, “There is not one shred of scientific evidence showing that canned hunting and legal lion bone exports take the poaching pressure off wild lion populations. In fact, it is increasingly clear that these practices stimulate demand for wild lion, leopard and tiger parts throughout the world. The CITES mandate to limit captive-bred lion skeleton exports from South Africa was a step in the right direction; with global pressure mounting on the government to ban canned hunting, we may soon see the end of this reprehensible industry.”

Background

Wild lion populations are on a steep decline, with only 20,000 remaining today, down from 30,000 just two decades ago. The species faces a deadly matrix of threats in the wild, ranging from conflict with people and bushmeat poaching to habitat loss, unsustainable trophy hunting and the emerging threat of poaching for the illegal wildlife trade.

Panthera’s Project Leonardo leads or supports initiatives in 15 African nations to bring lion populations back to a minimum of 30,000 individuals within 15 years. Learn more.

Read Beyond Cecil: Africa’s Lions in Crisis for more information about the plight of the African lion, and take the pledge to #LetLionsLive at letlionslive.org

   
 
 

 
 
  About
Panthera
Panthera, founded in 2006, is devoted exclusively to preserving wild cats and their critical role in the world’s ecosystems. Panthera’s team of leading biologists, law enforcement experts and wild cat advocates develop innovative strategies based on the best available science to protect cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, lions, pumas, snow leopards and tigers and their vast landscapes. In 50 countries around the world, Panthera works with a wide variety of stakeholders to reduce or eliminate the most pressing threats to wild cats—securing their future, and ours.  
     
    Visit panthera.org  
     
 
     

Panthera Head Office
8 West 40th Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10018

 

Unsubscribe

 

 

A couple of long-disused buildings in the Florida Keys that once sheltered servicemen from missile launches have been sheltering something else – pythons. 

Four large crawlers – one, a female, was nearly 16 feet long – turned up within the last month at an old missile base at Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) reported. 

Scientists think the snakes migrated from the Everglades, a fertile breeding ground for the unwanted predators. Now, officials say, the snakes may be poised to head south, where several Keys species are defenseless against the large, invasive reptiles. 

Compounding their concerns: Officials this past summer also discovered some hatchling pythons near Key Largo – a strong indication that the snakes have found a welcome habitat and are multiplying. 

The latest unwanted snakes turned up in a couple of old bunkers where the U.S. military once had a Nike Hercules missile firing range. The site, closed 30 years ago, is now part of the 6,500-acre Crocodile Lake refuge. Searchers using trackers and specially trained dogs sniffed out the snakes, said Jeremy Dixon, who manages Crocodile Lake. 

“Snakes like deep, dark places,” he said. 

They also like black rats, which likely attracted them to the site, Dixon said. The area also is home to hundreds of feral cats, another potential food source. 

The easy availability of food, said Dixon, means the pythons could thrive on the Keys just as easily as they have multiplied in the Everglades. For more than two decades, an array of big snakes have spread and bred in the Everglades. Their presence has had a devastating effect on native birds, deer and other species in the park. Some snakes have even managed to devour alligators. 

The Florida Wildlife Fish and Wildlife Commission is working with the University of Florida to detect and remove the snakes in the Keys. They are partnering with the Irulas, members of a tribal community from India that’s renowned for its ability to catch snakes.  Learn more about those programs

If you need to report a python, dial the Exotic Species Reporting Hotline: 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681).

                                                                                                                                                      XXXX
 

National Report Names Best and Worst States for Animal Protection Laws

SAN FRANCISCOThe Animal Legal Defense Fund, the premiere legal organization for animals, released the 11thannualyear-end report(2016), ranking the animal protection laws of all 50 states.

For the ninth year in a row, Illinois takes first place—followed by Oregon (2), Maine (3) and California (4). Rhode Island (5) broke into the top tier this year. Kentucky holds steady at fiftieth place for the 10th year in a row, followed by Iowa (49), Wyoming (48), Utah (47), and North Dakota (46) rounding out states with the weakest animal protection laws.

Wisconsin was the most-improved state in 2016, jumping fourteen places in rank, in part, by passing a comprehensive cost-of-care law, mandating reimbursement of the costs of caring for a cruelly treated animal to the caregiving agency prior to the disposition of the case. While 25 states require reimbursement of costs of care after the offender is convicted, only 16 states require reimbursement prior to, or regardless of, a criminal conviction.

Other notable changes this year included Michigan’s and Wisconsin’s new provisions to allow pets to be included in protective orders in domestic violence situations, Tennessee’s enactment of the first-ever statewide animal abuser registry, Idaho’s new felony provision for torturing a companion animal, and Maryland’s and Pennsylvania’s new prohibitions on possessing animal fighting paraphernalia.  Kentucky showed some progress by strengthening animal fighting statutes, but it was not enough to shake its reputation as the “Worst State” for animal protection laws ten years in a row.

The past five years of the Rankings Report reveal that more than three quarters of all states have significantly improved their animal protection laws. “The Animal Legal Defense Fund works year round to strengthen laws, and we are gratified to see that reflected in the Report,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Despite this, there’s still a long way to go in animal protection, and Americans should use the Rankings Report as an indicator of where their home state can improve.”

The Rankings are based on a comprehensive review of each jurisdiction’s animal protection laws including over 4,000 pages of statutes. This is the longest-running and most authoritative report of its kind, and tracks which states are taking animal protection seriously.

The full report, including details about each state, isavailable at for download (PDF). The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s complete “Animal Protection Laws of the U.S.A. and Canada” compendium, on which the report is based, is available ataldf.org/compendium.

For more information visit, aldf.org.

###

About The Animal Legal Defense Fund

The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, the Animal Legal Defense Fund files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. For more information, please visitaldf.org.

Washington, D.C., January 5, 2017 -- Today is Born Free USA’s 15th annual National Bird Day: a day to raise awareness for wild and captive birds everywhere.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation: “We want to use this day to remind the public that birds belong in the wild. They do not deserve to be bred in captivity in unregulated, often miserable conditions. They deserve to fly and not be traded and sold as pets where they spend their lives in cages, and where people cannot possibly meet the complicated needs of a bird.”

National Bird Day is a time to celebrate birds for the true wild animals they are,” Roberts adds.

Born Free USA’s facts about birds:

  1. How many species of birds are there? There's no single correct or universally agreed-upon number, and that's because there is more than one definition of "species." By one definition, there are 18,000-20,000 bird species; by another definition, there are only half that.
  2. Blackbird singing in the dead of night. "Blackbird," a song on the Beatles' White Album, is said to have been inspired by the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
  3. The Birds. Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 film The Birds employed live birds in many scenes. To attract the birds, actors often had ground meat or fish smeared on their hands.
  4. Indeed, a very Big Bird. Big Bird, a beloved character on the children's program Sesame Street, debuted in 1969. He is 8 feet 2 inches (249 cm) tall.
  5. Keep on Rockin'! The common pigeon we see in cities around the world (and sometimes in rural or wilderness areas) used to be called the Rock Dove, but it's now called the Rock Pigeon. It's a feral, domesticated variation of the wild type found in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
  6. Edgar Allen Poe's famous narrative poem, "The Raven," was first published in The Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845.
  7. Now, that's old! Parrot fossils have been found that date back as far as 60 million years.
  8. The bald eagle. The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States, but Benjamin Franklin had originally argued that the turkey would have been a more appropriate symbol.
  9. This is what is sounds like. Prince's 1984 song "When Doves Cry" stayed at number one on the Billboard Music Chart for five weeks, keeping Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" from reaching the top spot.
  10. Kept captive around the world... Turacos and louries—long-tailed, medium-sized birds—are only found in the wild in Africa, but we commonly see them in zoos.
  11. Beep, beep! Looney Tunes characters The Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote debuted in 1949. Their adversarial relationship was inspired in part by Tom and Jerry.
  12. The bird is the word. "Surfin' Bird" by The Trashmen was released in 1964. The song regained fame and notoriety after it was featured in a television episode of Family Guy.
  13. I smell an advantage for this owl. Great Horned Owls are found in every mainland state and Canadian province—and they have a really bad sense of smell! But, that's good for them, because a major prey species for this owl is the skunk. The skunk's best defense, a foul-smelling spray from their anal scent glands, does not deter the Great Horned Owl. Museum specimens of the owls, decades old, often retain traces of the skunk odor!
  14. The Last Suppers. In his two frescos of "The Last Supper," painted in Florence in 1480 and 1482, Renaissance artist Domenico Ghirlandaio prominently featured flying peacocks. Art historians believe the peacocks are meant to emphasize the "Oriental" setting of the Last Supper scene.
  15. And, a partridge in a pear tree. In the song "The 12 Days of Christmas," a holiday season standard, the singer's true love gives her 364 gifts—184 of which are birds.

For more information on how to celebrate the wildness of all birds and help birds in captivity, please visit www.nationalbirdday.org. For bird owners looking for support, visit www.nationalbirdday.org/a_happy_bird.php.

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 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.

 

(Washington, D.C., Dec. 21, 2016)American Bird Conservancy has petitioned the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to list the Oregon Vesper Sparrow as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In a letter sent to Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior, ABC describes this subspecies of the Vesper Sparrow as highly imperiled and threatened with extinction throughout its range.

The petition makes the case that the species warrants listing because of significant population declines and ongoing habitat loss and degradation, among other threats, and because it lacks adequate protection under existing regulatory mechanisms.

Without ESA listing, the sparrows’ future looks grim. The current estimated population of the Oregon Vesper Sparrow is fewer than 3,000 birds, and Breeding Bird Survey data indicates a statistically significant population decline of more than five percent every year over the last 45 years.

This migratory species has a restricted breeding range that historically included southwestern British Columbia, western Washington and Oregon, and northwestern California. Now, breeding populations have disappeared from British Columbia and California, along with numerous local breeding populations throughout the range.

The species overwinters in California west of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and south of San Francisco Bay, and historically it ranged into northwestern Baja California, Mexico. But wintering populations in Baja and southern parts of California have now disappeared.

“We are deeply concerned about the future of this bird,” said Bob Altman, ABC’s Pacific Northwest Conservation Officer. “With so few birds remaining, many in small and isolated populations, the Oregon Vesper Sparrow needs the immediate protection and conservation focus made possible through ESA listing.”

Several primary threats are driving the sparrow’s decline:

  1. The continuing loss and degradation of its grassland and savannah habitats because of development, conversion of those habitats to intensive agriculture, and the encroachment of invasive shrubs, trees, and exotic grasses;
  2. Harmful or poorly timed land-use activities such as mowing, overgrazing, military training, and recreational use; and
  3. The vulnerability of small, isolated breeding groups of birds.

“Every year, more populations are being lost, and we are not seeing the establishment of new populations where habitat restoration has occurred,” Altman said.

Existing regulatory mechanisms do not provide the protection needed to prevent the Oregon Vesper Sparrow from continuing on its trajectory toward extinction. There are no Federal or State programs dedicated to its conservation, and only about 20 percent of the birds’ range-wide population occurs on public lands. Without ESA listing, this vulnerable species will continue to decline and is likely to disappear forever.

(Photo: Vesper Sparrow by Suzanne Beauchesne)

###

American Bird Conservancy is the Western Hemisphere's bird conservation specialist—the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

____________________________________________________________

 

Washington, D.C., December 15, 2016 -- As 2016 draws to a close, Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, has released a round-up of its top 10 successes for animals this year. According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “Despite significant national and international challenges, we have seen momentous gains for wildlife this year on issues from performing animals, to fur in fashion, to international wildlife trafficking. There is growing public awareness and momentum to stop the abuses animals face when they are held captive, or trapped, or poached for profit. Born Free USA’s successes for animals in 2016 inspire us to fight harder to build upon these gains and ensure that 2017 is an even better year for wildlife around the world.”   

International Wildlife Conservation. In the fall, a Born Free USA delegation attended the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Johannesburg, South Africa. CITES Parties approved decisions and enacted measures to increase protection for several imperiled species. Born Free USA helped secure recommendations on the long-term conservation of cheetahs, including efforts to stop the illegal trade in the species; succeeded in getting CITES Parties to consider the threats facing African wild dogs for the first time; and helped stop attempts to reopen the elephant ivory and rhino horn trades. Born Free USA also played an important role in securing the adoption of a prohibition of commercial trade in all eight pangolin species.

Fur for the Animals Campaign. Born Free USA’s annual Fur for the Animals campaign—a donation drive to collect fur coats, hats, and other items to send to wildlife rehabilitators to comfort orphaned and injured animals—made international headlines this year. Since September 2016, Born Free USA has collected more than 1,000 fur item donations: more than double the donations from 2015. To date, the three-year program has received more than 1,600 fur donations, worth an estimated $3.5M, from more than 54,000 animals killed for their fur.

Debate about Whether Hunters Conserve Wildlife. In the spring, at a nationally-broadcasted live debate in New York, Born Free USA’s CEO, Adam M. Roberts, and President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, successfully argued that trophy hunting depletes wild animal populations; that it occurs in countries in which governments set non-science-based quotas; and that the millions of dollars spent on these violent “thrill kills” do not promote conservation. Roberts and Pacelle won, convincing 65% of the audience that hunting does not conserve wildlife.

Undercover Trapping Report. Five years after the release of Born Free USA’s groundbreaking undercover trapping investigation, Victims of Vanity, the organization released Victims of Vanity II in September. This investigation focuses on trapping that takes place on private, public, and protected lands in New York and Iowa. The footage exposes the brutal world of trapping, documenting everyday trapping practices that are shockingly cruel and dangerous—and which are sometimes illegal. The compelling investigation is being used to push for bans on trapping on federal and state public lands.

Report to Expose Online Sales of Exotic Pets. In October, Born Free USA released a report titled Downloading Cruelty: An Investigation into the Online Sales of Exotic Pets in the U.S. The research confirmed the enormous quantity of exotic animals advertised on the internet; at least 3,706 individual exotic animals across 1,816 unique ads were listed for sale during a three-month period. The locations of these ads situated sellers in 49 states and Washington, D.C., and the species for sale were highly diverse. The report is being used to demand greater accountability from the classified ad websites, and stronger state and federal laws to crack down on the online exotic pet trade.

Banning Weapons Used on Elephants in Traveling Shows. Born Free USA successfully worked with coalitions in Rhode Island and California to pass legislation prohibiting the use of weapons designed to inflict pain on elephants in traveling shows. These precedent-setting laws will ensure that elephant trainers can no longer use these brutal tools, like the bullhook: a long, thick pole with a sharp metal hook attached to the end that trainers often embed into the soft tissue of elephants. Born Free USA also worked with a New York City coalition on an ordinance to prohibit the use of performing exotic animals within the city, including testifying at a hearing in October. Born Free USA Program Associate Kate Dylewsky told the council: “There are plentiful alternatives to shows that feature animals, and neither the economic strength nor the vibrant culture of New York City will suffer a loss from this law.” Born Free USA will continue pushing New York City aggressively to adopt this bill.

Trapping Legislation Introduced. In June, Representatives Alma Adams (D-NC) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) introduced the Public Safety and Wildlife Protection Act (H.R. 5560): a bill that would ban the import, export, and interstate commerce of steel-jaw leghold traps and Conibear traps. In September, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced H.R. 5954: the Limiting Inhumane Federal Trapping (LIFT) for Public Safety Act. This bill would ban trapping on all lands managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It would also prohibit these federal personnel from using traps in the line of duty. Born Free USA assisted these efforts by providing information on U.S. trapping and calling on members of Congress to support the legislation after it was introduced. 

Armani Goes Fur Free. In April, luxury fashion icon Giorgio Armani announced the brand would eliminate the use of real fur beginning with its 2016 Fall/Winter line. Armani committed to this humane, fur free policy after working with the Fur Free Alliance, which includes Born Free USA. By committing to a fur free policy, Armani joins other high-end brands (such as Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Stella McCartney) and acknowledges the ethical concerns of a new generation of fashion consumers.

Strengthening Protection of African Manatees. Illegal trade, bycatch, poaching, and human population growth are increasing threats for the fewer than 10,000 African manatees ranging in West and Central Africa. In some regions, the species is reported as being close to extinct. Local communities urgently need to understand the role they can play in its conservation. In July, Born Free USA joined forces with other groups to distribute posters throughout West Africa to educate citizens in manatee Range States about the threats affecting the species and about the need to end the illegal trade in manatee products

New Accommodations for Primates—and New Primates. In November 2015, a crew began the intensive process of creating new enclosures at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley, Texas. In March 2016, the enclosures were ready to be occupied by monkeys. These new enclosures contain necessary shade along with climbing and loafing structures. Each enclosure has its own propane-heated cinderblock house for inclement weather. The windows open, as well, so they will provide comfort in the summer heat. We also accepted new sanctuary residents, including two monkeys from biomedical research and one from a private owner who kept the vervet as a “pet.” Additionally, one of our resident monkeys from a zoo was released into the main 56-acre enclosure after a nearly year-long rehabilitation program.

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.

Page 6 of 16