You Helped So Many Animals in 2020 [Born Free]
An Animal Rights Article from

December 2020

Let's celebrate our hard-fought 2020 victories!


Strengthened Wildlife Law Enforcement via Virtual Workshops and an Innovative New Tool


Due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions, we had to reorganize our planned wildlife law enforcement workshops for 2020 and go online. We held our first online workshop in September thanks to the enthusiasm and efficiency of local authorities in West Africa. Judges, prosecutors, and wildlife authorities from Ghana and Nigeria gathered in large hotel rooms, while our international team delivered the training remotely in close collaboration with the local authorities. The success of this remote training paved the way for future virtual efforts.

We also launched WildScan, a user-friendly mobile phone app developed to support officers on the front lines of the fight against the illegal wildlife trade. We created the app in partnership with Freeland with funding from the United States Agency for International Development.

Stood Up for Pangolins


In January, we filed a lawsuit to gain Endangered Species Act protections for seven species of pangolins, the world’s most illegally trafficked mammal. In August, a judge ruled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) must make a decision on those protections by June 2021. FWS admitted there is “substantial information indicating that listing the seven pangolin species under the Endangered Species Act may be warranted.” We are now closer than ever to achieving federal protections for the world’s most heavily trafficked mammal!

Assisted Victims of Trapping


This year we offered financial assistance to three animals through our Trapping Victims Fund. A dog in Utah, a puppy in Tennessee, and a great horned owl in Massachusetts all required surgical intervention after their legs were caught in traps. In addition to helping fund their treatment, we shared their stories as a part of our “Trap Free Trails” campaign. During the campaign, more than 10,000 supporters signed our petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service calling for a trapping ban on public lands!

Exposed Fur Farms


Fur farming in the U.S. is a hidden and largely unregulated industry. We investigated the U.S. fur farm industry to produce a report detailing the silent suffering of furbearers. The report exposes significant animal welfare concerns, a lack of oversight and enforcement, and an industry with no transparency. It also covers public health concerns due to zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19. We published the report to spur the U.S. to make progress on fur farm legislation.

Provided a Second Chance to Five New Monkeys


This year, the Born Free USA Sanctuary welcomed Marlin the baboon, along with his two daughters Violet and Presley, and macaque friends Anna (pictured here), and Mrs. Wilkin. All five were rescued from squalid conditions at Cricket Hollow Zoo in Iowa. Now these monkeys are thriving in their new spacious enclosures, receiving much needed veterinary care, eating nutritious food, and making friends with their new neighbors!

Stopped Deer Culls


For years, we have advocated against the cull of Mule Deer in Oak Bay, in the Victoria Capital Regional District (CRD) of British Columbia. An immunocontraception program that uses the animals’ own immune system to prevent reproduction was launched last year and the results were assessed this year. It was such a huge success that all 13 of the regions in CRD have abandoned lethal culling of deer! This saved the lives of thousands of deer and provides encouraging evidence to help start similar programs elsewhere in British Columbia.

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