Today is Endangered Species Day. Every year for a decade, people across America have spent this day recognizing the plight of endangered species and the need to do all we can to help these imperiled animals (and plants) recover.
For more than 20 years, we have been calling attention to the despicable trade in bear parts. From coast to coast across the U.S., American black bears are killed, their paws cut off, and their abdomens brutally sliced open to extract the gallbladders inside.
There's no question that animal advocacy is a challenging endeavor, and changing public attitudes and laws to protect animals from cruelty and suffering is a long, painstaking process. But, each year, we find that we are making significant progress -- even if it's slower than we'd like.
What a strange time we live in. I know I'm having a peaceful moment when I can actually find the time to read the paper. And, I recently came across an article that I literally had to read twice because I couldn't believe my eyes.
The industrial exploitation of wild animals across a suite of different forms of intensive captivity is heart-breaking and cruel. But with the conviction of an ever-growing legion of compassionate citizens, change is coming.
The species is estimated to have suffered serious population declines since 1980, when an estimated 75,800 lions roamed the African savannah. Now, experts believe there may be 20,000 or fewer. This is a species in true danger.
Only three northern white rhinos cling to life on a Kenyan reserve, suggesting that we're not doing all we can to save imperiled wildlife, and that life in a zoo, however brief, is not the hedge against extinction that the zoo industry would like you to believe.
Elephant experts, conservationists, animal advocates, and thoughtful people everywhere know that wildlife belongs in the wild and that we have a responsibility to do everything we can to keep them there.
All captive orcas in the United States must be retired: not to bigger incarcerating pools, but to coastal seapens, where they can, at least, live out the remainder of their natural lives in something close to natural freedom.
As difficult as the issues are surrounding the cheetah trade, knowing that I, myself, have witnessed in Ethiopia the arrival of these poor babies, scared and far from home, it was inspiring to see all of these disparate players in one room.
If the animals can be induced to stay where they belong, and the people can be convinced that they are no longer a threat, then peace can break out. I saw this happen in Tanzania, where the Living Wall project builds unbreachable fences that keep lions away from livestock.
In the summer of 2013 alone, deadly pet snakes were on the loose in Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Wisconsin after escaping from their owners. The statistics speak for themselves. When will the public listen?
More than a decade ago we expressed concern about the zoo's acquisition of two dolphins from South Africa. We asked the zoo to instead consider phasing out the captive dolphin display. We are thrilled to see that the zoo may finally be heeding our advice.