Born Free USA Launches First Ever Captive Exotic Animal Database that Cites Attacks on Humans and Other Animals Searchable by Location, Species, and More

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Born Free USA Launches First Ever Captive Exotic Animal Database that Cites Attacks on Humans and Other Animals Searchable by Location, Species, and More

Database designed for lawmakers, media, and public, illustrates these are not isolated incidents, are shockingly common, and that the issue is a critical matter of public safety, says Born Free CEO


Washington D.C., August 19, 2010 — Born Free USA, the nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, has launched an unprecedented interactive database of deadly and dangerous captive wild animal incidents (, designed as a resource for the media, lawmakers, activists and the public, to help shed light on the magnitude of the issue. 

Born Free USA’s goal is to provide a tool to support action that can prevent another tragedy like the chimpanzee Travis in Connecticut and the other horrendous incidents listed in the database and put an end to the captive wildlife trade and private ownership of wild animals.  

The database lists more than 1,300 attacks and incidents that have occurred since 1990, searchable by state, species, type, and key word, and includes a U.S. map graphic marking each location — a shocking visual to illustrate how geographically widespread the problem is.

According to BFUSA CEO Will Travers, “Wild animals are wild. And as long as humans insist on capturing them for pets or for entertainment, our lives and our children’s lives are in danger. By offering this information as an interactive, searchable online database tool, we aim to provide a resource, educate and inform lawmakers, the media, and the public on the critical aspects of the issue. These incidents are frighteningly common. A person’s life can be taken in an instant.” 


History has proven that an exotic animal attack on a human being can happen at any time, anywhere in the U.S., as a result of someone keeping a wild animal as a pet, a captive animal escaping from a zoo, or an animal used for entertainment attacking their human caretaker.

“Many people who have been attacked profess their love for the animal and were not physically abusive towards the animal. It is not necessarily abuse that provokes an escape or attack. Even the most seemingly tame, beloved wild animal is a ticking time bomb. They cannot be tamed and should not be confined,” Travers explains. 

Wild animals belong in the wild – – not in the confinement of circuses, zoos, backyards, or apartments. Kept in captivity, wild and exotic animals are not able to perform their natural behaviors and many animals literally go insane, suffering psychological and physical deprivation. Humans are at equal risk as a result of escapes, bites, or other forms of attack.

Born Free USA’s captive wildlife database includes 899 exotic "pet" incidents; 79 performing captive exotic animal incidents; and 227 zoo incidents. The state with the most incidents overall is Florida. The top species is reptile. The human death toll to date is 68.


If you know of an exotic animal incident that is not in the database, contact Born Free USA at  

Born Free USA (BFUSA) is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, BFUSA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets”, trapping and fur, and destructive international wildlife trade.  BFUSA’s Primate Sanctuary in Texas is home to more than 500 primates rescued from laboratories, roadside zoos, and private possession. BFUSA 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, now CEO of both organizations. BFUSA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. 


Media Contact: Rodi Rosensweig, 203/270-8929;    

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