Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute Untitled

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Born Free USA's Wildlife Trade Campaign

Global commercialization of wild animals and plants is a multibillion-dollar industry that rivals the drugs and arms trades. It can result in extreme animal cruelty and serious population declines. Law enforcement officials from Kentucky to Kenya put their lives on the line every day to protect wild animals where they belong — in the wild.

(Watch a short video in which Will Travers, our chief executive officer, talks about this campaign.)

Birds and reptiles are captured for the "pet" trade; rhinos are killed for their horns, tigers for their bones, bears for their gallbladders, elephants for their ivory, and primates for their meat; lions, polar bears and other animals are killed for their coveted trophies; and elephants are shipped from country to country across the globe to languish in zoos.

LEARN: Recent Developments

What's happening on the ground around the world to wildlife, slaughtered for profit?

  • A female elephant is poached in Kenya, leaving eight orphans behind.
  • Police confiscate ivory stockpiles in Zambia and Malaysia.
  • A man is charged in connection with smuggling 250 reptiles crammed into a suitcase for an international flight.
  • Chinese superstar athlete Yao Ming speaks out against bear bile farms.
  • Nearly 500 elephants are slaughtered in a Cameroon national park.
  • Progress against poaching is made by the Kenya Wildlife Service.

BORN FREE USA: On the Front Lines

Born Free USA is on the front lines in the fight to protect wildlife in the wild. We are initiating or assisting with several legislative efforts to crack down on the international wildlife trade, working with the federal government here and fighting for wildlife worldwide through the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Legislation: Check out our efforts in state legislatures across the country:

  • Protecting tigers in New Jersey from entering the wildlife trade.
  • Outlawing the importation of shark fins in a number of states, most recently Delaware, Illinois and New York.
  • Banning the commercial trade of bear parts in Hawaii.

Federal efforts: Last year we joined a coalition of wildlife conservation groups who submitted a formal petition to the U.S. Department of the Interior to list the African lion as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. We still await that ruling. Meanwhile, we conducted a year-long, undercover investigation into the despicable lion meat trade.

CITES. At the CITES Animals Committee, Born Free USA fights for African lions (killed as trophies), long-tailed macaques (trade for biomedical research globally), and the welfare of individual animals sold for zoo display. At the upcoming CITES Standing Committee this summer, Born Free USA will be fighting for elephants (bloody ivory trade), rhinos (despicable horn trade), and Asian big cats (destructive bone and skin trade). And next March, in Thailand, the 175 Parties to the Convention will gather to discuss all of these issues and take final decisions that could determine the fate of entire species. The Born Free USA delegation will attend in full force, ready to defend wildlife everywhere.

ACT: What You Can Do

  • Become an ecotourist. Wild animals are worth more alive than dead. "Photo safaris" or whale-watching expeditions can be arranged with great sensitivity toward wildlife. Local people and wildlife benefit.
  • Do not buy any wildlife products, such as sea turtle shell or elephant ivory, when you take your summer vacation to exotic destinations.
  • Report anyone in your community who you know is selling wildlife parts or products illegally. (Contact Born Free USA and we'll help you identify the right authorities to submit your complaint.)
  • Resist ordering "exotic" animal foods in restaurants — and tell the restaurant owners that you strongly object to such menu items.
  • Stay tuned as Born Free USA keeps you updated, via Action Alerts and our website's Wildlife Trade page, on news and legislation involving the international trade of wildlife.

CONTRIBUTE: Support Wildlife Protection

Born Free USA offers several ways in which you can contribute financially to our fight against the International Wildlife Trade. Please consider doing one (or more!) of the following:

Participate in our annual Keep Wildlife in the Wild Auction, June 18-22. Check out the items! Make a one-time donation. Sponsor a lion. Purchase one of our plush toys.

HAVE FUN! Enter Our Photo, Essay Contests

Grab a camera and participate in our second annual Keep Wildlife in the Wild Photo Contest, or encourage a young person to enter our inaugural "How I'm Going Wild for Animals This Summer" essay contest.

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