Since 1984, we have been working tirelessly for the conservation of wildlife and endangered animals around the world.
The Born Free Foundation: Our mission is to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs. Born Free opposes the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaigns to keep wildlife in the wild.
Born Free promotes Compassionate Conservation to enhance the survival of threatened species in the wild and protect natural habitats while respecting the needs of and safeguarding the welfare of individual animals. We seek to have a positive impact on animals in the wild and protect their ecosystems in perpetuity, for their own intrinsic value and for the critical roles they play within the natural world.
The plight of Lions remain central to our mission. Lions used and abused in captivity; Lions cynically exploited as photo-props for the infamous social media ‘selfish-selife’; Lions killed by those vainglorious trophy-hunters my mother so derides; Lions butchered and traded as body parts for Traditional Asian Medicine (and other nefarious uses). And, perhaps most callously of all, Lions torn from their mothers as tiny cubs; raised by unwitting, paying volunteers (believing them, wrongly, to be genuine orphans); walked as adolescents alongside tourists willing to part with their hard-earned cash to ‘get up close and personal with a Lion’; and then shot, in an enclosure with no chance of escape, on a ‘no kill, no fee’ basis by murderous thrill-seekers looking for a discount Lion head to hang in their den back home. Exploited from cradle to early grave.
Born Free rescues vulnerable Lions from appalling conditions where they have been confined, exploited or abused. Our focus is on providing them with the best possible lifetime care at our sanctuaries, in South Africa and Ethiopia, where the big cats are housed in large, naturally-landscaped enclosures that lets them express their natural behaviour.
Wild animals at our sanctuaries and rescue centres are given lifetime care and spacious environments in which they can live out their days in the peace and respect they need and deserve. Not only do we run our own sanctuaries and work with partners on sanctuary projects, we also work with partners around the world to provide emergency treatment and care to free-ranging wild animals, and support independent rescue centres.
Born Free co-founder and actress Virginia McKenna OBE
Virginia McKenna OBE
Will Travers OBE
“It’s hard to believe that 56 years have passed since I arrived in Kenya with my husband Bill and our young family to film Born Free. Little did we know then that our lives would be changed forever by the unique and inspiring story of Elsa the Lioness, the incredible compassion of George and Joy Adamson, and the bonds we formed with some of the Lions we worked with in the film.
Virginia McKenna OBE
Born Free opposes the killing of any animal for sport or pleasure. We have been campaigning to bring an end to canned hunting, the Lion bone trade, and the cruel Lion breeding industry that supports these activities, for many years. We will continue to campaign for the South African authorities to end canned hunting and the bone trade, and close down the Lion breeding industry with compassion and respect for the animals affected.
Condemnation of the industry has come from all quarters. In 2016, the World Conservation Congress passed a resolution calling for its closure. Even international hunting organisations have disassociated themselves from canned hunting on the grounds that it doesn’t represent “fair chase”.
Yet for the past 20 years, except for a brief period between 2007-2010, the South African authorities have consistently facilitated the growth of the Lion breeding industry by maintaining legislation which enables officials to issue permits for Lion breeding and hunting and, since 2008, the exportation of Lion bones.
We will never stop fighting for an end to this travesty. We will never stop fighting keep Lions where they belong – in the wild
Lions are the only truly social cat. The fiercest of all predators, but also capable of showing incredible tenderness and affection to each other. There’s always something going on. Lion society is so complex that you’re never far away from the next pride interaction, takeover or drama.
There are many wonderful wildlife photographers, but George’s images are amongst the most intriguing, thought-provoking and original.
Born Free founder and actress Virginia McKenna OBE
The human race has to now decide whether it is prepared to share the planet with the last few surviving of the most iconic predator.