Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

A volunteer at Born Free

Firstly… What an honour it is to be accepted to volunteer for the Born Free Foundation.

Why have they accepted me? What can I bring to them to help with the conservation efforts and safety of wildlife, here in Africa?

Well, I have always been passionate about animal welfare, conservation, education and I bring with me a mix of skills and experiences.

I started to volunteer with animals at the age of 10 at a British wildlife hospital. I aided in rescues, animal care, fundraising and best of all releases. Undertaking; industry experience with college, dissertation research for University and Queens Guide Award volunteering from there.

I have also spent time at a local dog rehoming centre, a rare breed’s farm park and a veterinary practise. Wildlife was defiantly where my heart lies and even at a young age realised; us humans were to blame for their decline. Born Free’s updates are a great way to see how good change is happening!

I went on to study a BTEC ND in Animal Management followed by Bsc (Hons) Wildlife Conservation with Zoo Biology. For someone who got DD in Science that is pretty good, I had a goal and I worked hard to achieve it!  Practical experience is where I excel though!

All this while I was in Girl Guiding, it brought out my confidence and so I am now a leader in the hope the do the same for the next generation. I combine crafts and activities with life lessons. Education through fun admit it, even you adults would prefer that!

I then worked for Animal Friends Insurance, a proud supporter of the Born Free Foundation. Within the role of charity coordinator, I was helping people to help animals, hearing how the donations helped animals was great! I was content behind a desk for some time but I needed to be out there, really helping! I was offered the chance to volunteer abroad in exchange of blogs…. A dream come true!!!

First I volunteered at a primate rescue centre on the coast of Kenya. Born Free then offered me a chance to be out in the field; helping the conservation programmes and preventing poaching of the iconic wild animals, if I spent time in their Nairobi office. Um yes! I could combine my office skills, guiding imagination, and conservation education. I can learn so much more and far more importantly…. Help animals, habitat and communities.

I hope to be able to help find an alternative to poaching for those after the money, to stop the want of the items which leads to the death of such magnificent, important animals, to educate all ages and to promote the charity doing so much of a good thing to conserve and to be able to keep the animals “Born Free”.

At the end of my time volunteering for Born Free (still sounds amazing to say that!) I will let you know all I have been up to. Now you know how I got here, it’s your turn to do your good deed, the possibilities are endless!

Marianne Matthews

Volunteer – Born Free Foundation (Kenya)

Will’s Born Free Talks

I had already seen three of Wills speech’s but was looking forward to the third. Hearing all about Born Free and the animals they care for, will always be interesting to people who have not experienced Born Free before or with years of conservation experience!

The first, my best friend and I attended and there was not a dry eye at the end of the talk. Will carefully but deeply told of how rhinos and elephants were continuing to be poached due to the demand for medicine (that doesn’t work) and (tacky) ornaments in an even more brutal way. Darting… So that no sound could be heard, which would lead to the being found. The horns of Thandi a female Rhino had been hacked off while she was under and she slowly bled out. Luckily the Born Free team got there in time to administer veterinary care when she came round, waking in severe pain. She survived minus her horn but the healing process was long and unfortunately another had died do to the damage the poachers had done. A rhino without his horn is like a human without their thumb, but a life in exchange of a profit, there is simply no need!

The second time I was no longer a guest. Part of the team now, part of the family to keep animals Born Free. I was bustling around getting tables ready for the 30th anniversary talks here in Kenya. Worrying about the microphone working soon went away when the speeches started. They were all proud of the achievements of the Born Free Foundation over the years and it made others equally as proud (and rightfully so!).

Then at a talk at the Nairobi National Museum. Will started from scratch with the story of Born Free. He spoke of the changes and rescues they had helped with and the stats which proved they (and we) must continue to fight for the end of poaching and bush meat trade. “There is a vicious circle – the illegal bush meat trade is reducing the prey that the lions naturally feed on, this then leads the lions to hunt livestock, the owners then hunt down a lion… Nobody wins! So we are fighting the bush meat trade and creating Bomas to protect livestock and in turn protect lions. A viable solution for all!”

His care for all sides; humans, animals, environment which shone through and as he answered peoples questions in a very personal and meaningful way.

 

One question asked by Evolution Media ran by Kenyan Social Ventures, “What about the little guys? Are they a forgotten or less important species?”  I would say unfortunately, around the world, people do care more for the iconic animals and so that’s how donations are driven. Donations which go into the care of the species such as the lions and elephant which are pyramid species, once these animals are secured it will secure the safety of the smaller species. So Born Free is silently caring for all species. The individuals they rescue are the ambassadors of their work for world wide conservation.

I hope you take up the chance to see a talk by Born Free. You will learn so much and help change the world for the better.

Marianne Matthews

Volunteer – Born Free Foundation (Kenya)

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906


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