Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Elsa's Legacy Lives On In Kenya's Heartland!

Trying to spot a lion isn’t easy. Somewhere in Meru Conservation Area, Kenya, a vast 4,000 km2 wilderness that stretches as far as the eye can see, three prides are hidden from view. With lion populations at a critical low, the chances of catching a glimpse of this iconic big cat are remote. Today, there are just 2,000 lions in the whole of Kenya. Habitat loss, poaching, changes in land use, and incidences of human-wildlife conflict, have had a devastating impact on numbers. A period of heavy poaching in the Eighties resulted in the rapid decline of wildlife populations in Meru, and lions all but disappeared from these lands. Fortunately, the situation over the past 17 years has greatly improved. The launch of a wildlife rehabilitation programme in 2000 saw the restocking of Meru National Park with lions, elephants, rhino, reticulated giraffe, leopard and Grevy’s zebra, as well as other native wildlife. 

Today, Meru National Park is one of Kenya’s best kept secrets, where animals are free to roam their native lands once more. In partnership with The Kenya Wildlife Service, Born Free ensures the protection of the Park’s precious lion prides, monitoring their movements with a GPS tracking system, deploying de-snaring teams, and working with local communities to promote co-existence with wildlife. The results have been positive. According to a recent census, there are approximately 58 lions in Meru National Park, making it one of the few remaining lion strongholds in Kenya.

As the sun starts to descend, Born Free rangers receive a radio communication from colleagues. Eight members of Elsa’s pride have been spotted lazing in the shade. In the fading light there is just enough time to check on them. As rangers approach and stop nearby, the females and their cubs seem unfazed by the sudden attention, and continue to loll in the undergrowth. In the heartland of Kenya where George and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the lioness and successfully returned her to the wild, Elsa’s legacy lives on, wild and free.

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

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