Chimps in Danger – Time to Turn The Tide

February 2nd, 2017

Dear Friends.

We’ve done pretty much everything to chimpanzees.

We’ve shot them into space, used them to sell tea, smuggled their babies as exotic ‘pets’, dressed them up as clowns in the circus, experimented on them for dubious medical research – even, in some parts of the world, eaten them.

And yet we have failed to do the one thing that really matters – we have failed to protect them and their natural forest home.

The BBC’s in-depth report on the cynical smuggling of live baby chimps from West Africa to markets in the Middle East and the Far East, broadcast this week, has shocked millions.

The look of helpless despair in the face of ‘Nemley Junior’, the infant chimp recovered in a sting operation, carried out with officers from the Cote d’Ivoire Police and Interpol, touched a million hearts.

And yet, while those concerned with the ravages of wildlife crime focus on elephants and rhino, the criminal syndicates intent on illegally trading our closest living relative remain largely ignored and untouched.

Conservation and law enforcement organisations such as LAGA (Last Great Ape) and the EAGLE network, together with campaigning individuals like world-famous photographer Karl Amman, have, for too long, been lone voices, trying to bring attention to a despicable trade that has probably caused the death of 4,000 chimpanzees in the last 10 years.

Even top Interpol officials such as David Higgins and the Secretary General of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), John Scanlon, lament the low level of attention and meagre funding that has been directed towards finding and bringing to justice those behind the trafficking.

Maybe the BBC’s investigation will start to change that? No one who saw the reports can fail to have been moved – and now it is time for action.

But what will it take?

Well money, for sure. Money to fund intelligence gathering, enforcement, judicial training, assisting prosecutors, and more. For too long, wildlife crime, including the live trade in great apes, has been regarded as a low risk/high reward activity. Laws need to be changed and judges motivated to exponentially increase the risk. Long custodial sentences, together with the sequestration of assets of crime – houses, cars, bank accounts – will make many criminals think again.

How much money I can’t say, but given that the illegal wildlife trade is worth up to $30billion a year, would a few million be too much to ask?

We also need to change attitudes, and that requires political will. While it remains acceptable for wealthy individuals in the Middle East to ‘own’ a status symbol ‘pet’ such as a chimp (or a cheetah), or while audiences in China still regard juvenile chimps (the adults are too dangerous), dressed up in costumes and performing ‘marriage ceremonies’ in circuses and zoos as amusing, then change will be glacially slow.

But we have seen how fast things can change when there is political will. The fact that China is now a leader in terms of addressing the bloody ivory trade (while the UK drags its feet) is clear evidence of that.

We also need to accept our own responsibility. Look for chimps on Instagram (other social media platforms are available) and you’ll finds dozens, hundreds of ‘selfies’ featuring endangered wildlife such as chimps, lion and tiger cubs, and more. People pay to have that ‘once in a lifetime’ photo and that’s also what drives the illegal trade. We all have a responsibility to pledge never to have our photo taken with an exotic ‘pet’. And if we see some activity involving wild animals when we are traveling, we can do something about it by reporting what we see to Born Free. We can all do something!

And if there is anyone out there with the financial resources to help profoundly turn the tide then please do contact me directly.

Otherwise, if you would like to join me in sponsoring the lifetime care of a rescued baby chimp, then please do consider helping care for Sara or Chinoise through Born Free.

David Shukman and the BBC, together with the dedicated wildlife officers of Cote D’Ivoire, have brought this disgusting trade to the attention of the world. Nemley Junior has been rescued from the hands of the traffickers. Maybe, just maybe, the tide has begun to turn.

Blogging off.

Will

Will Travers OBE
President,
Born Free Foundation

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Tilikum’s legacy

January 17th, 2017

Dear Friends,

The recent news of the death of Tilikum (aged 35), the famous captive Orca, created world-wide news, coming, as it did, hard on the heels of the death of Granny, the oldest-known wild orca.

That stark comparison seems to have a struck  a chord with many, including my good friend and colleague, Samantha Goddard.

Here is her Guest Blog.

Best wishes
Will

I was truly shocked when I read aloud the news that Tilikum, the most famous orca in captivity, had died on Friday 6th January 2017. He had long suffered deteriorating health due to a drug-resistant bacterial lung infection, and yet his death still shocked me and millions of others.

I can still remember the first time I saw Tilikum. Following the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010, there was a flood of footage on newsmedia around the world about orcas in their tanks. One of them was, of course, Tilikum, the largest of them all. I remember seeing an aerial shot of him in the medical tank, not much larger than his own body. That image has always stayed with me; an epitome of injustice.

Following his capture from the waters off Iceland in 1983, aged just 2 years old, Tilikum was held in captivity for 33 years, spending the last 24 of those at SeaWorld Orlando. In 2010, he became the most talked about orca in the world after he killed trainer, Dawn Brancheau. This was why I first saw Tilikum in the news, and incidentally why film director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, decided that his story was one that had to be told to the world – and tell it she did.

In 2013, the film documentary, Blackfish, was released. It exposed, in a heart-breaking and truly shocking way, the real plight of orca in captivity, the capture, the wasted lives of confinement, the injuries and tragedies, the exploitation. Blackfish  was a smash hit, having now been seen by more than 100 million people.

Following its success the public attendance fell, profits fell, the stock price fell (and continues to fall) and reputation of SeaWorld – a company that once seemed untouchable – sank. This sea-change is down to a growing sense of uneasiness amongst members of the public and the campaigning efforts over decades of organisations such as Born Free.  But more than that, it was down to Blackfish, and one in particular – Tilikum.

The loss of Tilikum is a cause of great sadness, but not the only one we have recently had to accept. The news of Tilikum’s passing came just two days after the death of the world’s oldest-known wild orca, Granny. On 4th January 2017, The Centre for Whale Research announced Granny’s presumed passing. She was estimated to be 105 years old (born in approximately 1910) and enjoyed a life of freedom in the wild. This is a stark comparison to the life led by Tilikum, who endured life in a tank for over thirty years. Despite these shocking differences, both lives should be equally celebrated, for they both remind us that our continued flight for the plight of these animals in captivity is something that will never waver until all the tanks are empty. They remind us that, despite all the challenges, wildlife belongs in the wild.

#EmptyTheTanks, #SanctuariesNotTanks

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New Year Message

December 31st, 2016

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow, 2017 will begin.

As with every New Year, there is a sense of expectation. That war will cease, the poverty will end, that our planet will be protected and that compassion will conquer all.

It may not turn out like that but that is no excuse for not trying – we must strive as never before.

And we must not forget our fellow travellers, the animals who share our spinning orb and whose survival is in our hands.

Born Free will continue to do all it can for wildlife in the wild but, in 2017, we shall also return to our roots and focus our efforts with even greater intensity on the millions of wild animals detained for our ‘pleasure’ and our ‘entertainment’.

My mother wrote the following words in 1987, thirty years ago. They remain as true today as they did then and they keep the fire of indignation and outrage burning as strong as ever. Wild animals locked up for life in zoos, circuses and menageries for little better reason than that it provides a momentary distraction cannot go unchallenged and, with the help of our supporters around the world, Born Free will always be clear, strong and principled in our opposition to the exploitation of individual wild animals ‘for fun’.

Here’s what Virginia wrote all those years ago:

“Sometimes the anger I feel towards those establishments, and the people who condone the perpetuation of the kind of captivity I am fighting against, chokes me. Sometimes when things get rough I feel frustrated and hopeless; the proverbial brick wall seems thicker than ever, and my voice, a very small one, shouting against the wind. But then, in my mind, I see the animals in the zoos. The bear in an indoor cage, four metres by three; the solitary monkey chained within its concrete pen; birds so confined that flight is impossible; the jungle cat crouching in the doorway of its wooden box inside its tiny concrete cage. I see the look in their eyes. It is a look I cannot forget, which I will not betray and which will follow me for the rest of my days”Virginia McKenna writing in ‘Beyond The Bars’(page 39) ‘Past , Present – Future Indicative’, 1987, Thorsons Publishing Group.

Still so true.

So, may I wish you all a wonderful New Year and ask that, in the months ahead, you keep those fellow travellers in mind. I know you will.

Very best wishes

Blogging off

Will

Please support our New Year appeal – Beyond the Bars

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Christmas Blog

December 22nd, 2016

Dear Friends,

This is possibly my shortest blog of the year!

2016 has seen a world full of challenge and change. The coming year looks set to be just as uncertain.

But one thing you can be sure of: Born Free, and our relentless efforts for wild animals in need, wherever they are to be found.

And you can also be sure of my personal appreciation, on behalf of those animals and also on behalf of all my friends and colleagues who work so tirelessly here at Born Free, for all the support we receive – the words of encouragement, the acts of kindness and the gifts of generosity.

As we close down for a break, to recover a little, to recharge the batteries, to re-energise for the year to come and the mountains we shall climb, may I say a profound ‘thank you’.

I hope your Christmas or seasonal holidays will be filled with friends, family and peace – and I look forward to your company on our journey towards a more compassionate world in 2017.

With best wishes and all good thoughts

Will

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#TheFinalRoar

December 8th, 2016

Dear Friends,

Born Free’s ‘Year of The Lion’ may be coming to a close BUT it isn’t over yet!

And this Friday there is a special chance to ROAR for lions everywhere in our ‘Final Roar’ Tweetstorm.

It’s a unique opportunity to answer a series of lion challenges, share this year-end platform with hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of others – and make a difference!

Here’s what you do:

Head over to our Twitter at 13:00 on Friday, 9th December. We will be tweeting specific tweets over the course of one hour. Please feel free to retweet as well as answering our tweets with your thoughts on everything Born Free!

With an estimated 20,000 wild lions left across Africa, with fragmented populations under pressure from loss of habitat, depleted numbers of natural prey, persecution by communities in revenge for livestock predation, and the additional impact of poaching and trophy hunting – there has never been a more important time for us all to come to the rescue of a species that is heading for extinction across much of its range.

So find space in your heart, and time on Friday to join the ‘Final Roar’ Tweetstorm.

Spread the word and save lions!

Blogging off!
Will

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The EU Zoo Inquiry 2016

December 2nd, 2016

Dear Friends

In 1987, prompted by distressing images of captive wild animals in European zoos, and at the request of the European Commission, a fledgling organisation then called Zoo Check (now Born Free), embarked on an investigation to try and find out just what was going on in EU zoos. At that time, the best list of zoological facilities indicated that there were in the order of 300 institutions. By the time we had finished our work which took more than a year, we had 1007.

Of course, we were, even then, way off the mark because today more robust data indicates that there are nearly 4000 zoos across the European Union.

How do we know this? Because our original research led ultimately to the establishment of the European Zoos Directive (1999/22) which required, amongst other things, that all zoos be licenced.

So now we know roughly how many zoos there are, but do we know what goes on in them?

In 2009, Born Free launched a six year project, called The EU Zoo Inquiry, which actually visited hundreds of zoos and recorded millions of images to try to answer questions such as; whether the minimum requirements of the Zoos Directive had been implemented; whether the zoo community was delivering on its obligations to conserve bio-diversity; whether zoos were truly educating the millions of visitors who still come through the door.

The results of our investigations were shocking. A handful of countries and a handful of zoos have stepped up and were trying. The majority, not so much.

But our effort has resulted in two unexpected and positive outcomes. It has encouraged the European Union to pay for the creation of a ‘Good Practices’ zoos guide, published in 2015, aimed at building-capacity within the government authorities and the zoo industry. It has also prompted the commissioning of REFIT, An Evaluation of the Zoos Directive, which is now, as we speak, assessing the impact of the Zoos Directive.

Participating in the evaluation is open to everyone. It is not necessarily easy and it can be a little complex but, if you have the time to take part and complete the online questionnaire, which will help inform the European Union (whether you are a fan of the EU or not!), then here is the link.

Remember, there are millions of captive wild animals in thousands of EU zoos, including dolphins in dolphinaria, elephants, lions, primates, the mega-vertebrates.  But also there are so many species that so easily get forgotten – that fly under the radar.

If the Directive were rigorously applied and if the standards set by national governments were improved and enforced then the kind of neglect and suffering we still witness day in, day out in European zoos, would diminish significantly.

So you have time to spare (is it something for the weekend?) here is that link again and here is a link to a document that will help you complete the Questionnaire. The consultation process closes on the 8th December.

Good luck and thanks for helping.

Blogging off
Will

PS. The deprivation and suffering of captive wild animals is never out of my thoughts for long. So watch out in 2017 for the launch of some exciting initiatives that could make a real difference – you can be part of the change!

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Hanoi Conference 2016

November 18th, 2016

Dear Friends,

As the delegates to the Hanoi Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade fly home, we need to reflect on the outcomes.

Ahead of the meeting, hopes for real progress had been high and citizens around the world waited eagerly for news.

The result appears to be distinctly lacking both in lustre and ambition.

While attendees re-affirmed their intention to crack down on the illegal trade in products such as ivory, to pursue demand-reduction strategies and to tackle domestic ivory markets, concrete evidence of progress were sorely lacking.

As Prince William said in his keynote address, “We aren’t moving fast enough to keep up with the crisis”, admitting that “we’re still falling behind.”

Indicators of that lack of progress include:

• the ongoing and devastating impact that it has on wildlife populations of iconic species such as elephants and rhino;

• the murderous way that it is carried out which causes the death not only of hundreds of thousands of wild animals each year but many people including rangers, wardens, community members and, of course, poachers;

• its links to terrorism and organised crime;

• the fact that few people of significance have been arrested and convicted,

• the rate of poaching and illegal trade which seems undiminished;

• evidence of high level corruption which protects those involved.

The Hanoi Conference did indicate a greater willingness on behalf of wealthy countries (notably Germany, the United States, France and the UK) to make higher levels of investment in a suite of measures aimed at tackling wildlife crime from improved enforcement in the field, the training of prosecutors and judiciary; the upgrading of national laws; increased tariffs and penalties, including deterrent sentencing and the sequestration of assets; the disruption of trade supply routes; and additional education-led demand reduction strategies in consumer countries.

Nevertheless any sense that the measures taken so far are having the desired impact is hard to find.

Notwithstanding its welcome step up in terms of financial commitment, the United Kingdom did not announce, as some had hoped, a timetable for the closure of its domestic market but, again, paraded its interim measure – a ban on the sale of all modern, ‘post-1947’ ivory – a move that has been widely criticised as being wholly inadequate.

Already over 63,500 people have signed a Petition calling for immediate and conclusive action to honour a now long-in-the-tooth Manifesto pledge, made in both 2010 and 2014, to “press for a total ban on ivory sales.”

Despite the urgency of the situation (some estimate that one elephant is poached every 15 minutes) and despite evidence broadcast in the BBC documentary ‘Saving Africa’s Elephants – Hugh and the Ivory War’ (BBC1 October 2016) that clearly showed the link between sales of UK ivory declared as ‘antique’ and the laundering of modern ivory to markets in the Far East, the Government plans to ‘consult on the ban in early next year (2017) as a first step to meeting the manifesto commitment.

It is simply not enough.

On a more positive note, the United Kingdom has agreed to host the 4th Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in 2018 but what sort of picture will we be looking at by then?  Thousands fewer elephants, rhino, pangolins, lions? And what will we read in our newspapers – that another meeting has come and good, fine words have been spoken, more pledges have been made, more hands wrung?

Or will we see the results of concerted international action, based on a proper, published plan, with measurable outcomes that reduce poaching, increase protection, secure convictions, dismantle supply-routes, improve security, champion anti-corruption and depress demand?

I hope so because the world’s threatened wildlife cannot wait, and my friends in ranger forces and wildlife law-enforcement agencies cannot hold back the tide forever.

As things stand, and as Prince William said in Hanoi, “A betting man would still bet on extinction.”

Blogging off
Will

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Hanoi Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade

November 14th, 2016

Dear Friends,

This week, delegates from 54 countries, governments, wildlife professionals, conservationists, wildlife trade experts, charities such as Born Free and our friends in the press and media, will gather in Hanoi, Vietnam, to drive forward efforts to end the illegal wildlife trade, especially the trade in ivory and rhino horn.

Vietnam, our hosts, is regarded as one of the destination countries for illegal wildlife trade but things may be changing.

On November 12th, in an indication of its growing commitment to change and to the protection of threatened wildlife, Vietnam will destroy 2,000 kg of seized ivory, together with 70kg of seized rhino horn. The following is a copy of the text of my video message to the meeting which has been requested by the United Kingdoms’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office and which will be broadcast in the run-up to the meeting.

I have been working on this issue for nearly 33 years. Battles have been won and lost but I believe that we can still win for the animals and that the tide is, at last, turning.

Blogging off

Will

“The upcoming Hanoi Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade is the third in a series of global multi-stakeholder gatherings, initiated in 2014 in London by the United Kingdom Government and United for Wildlife, and followed by the Kasane meeting, hosted by the Government of the Republic of Botswana in 2015. They are all intended to help address the negative impacts of wildlife trafficking on iconic wild species, notably elephants, rhino and lions.

This vitally important meeting, hosted by the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, provides an opportunity to evaluate the progress made so far towards achieving the objectives set out in The London Declaration and enhanced in The Kasane Statement, and to set further goals which will enhance protection, reduce demand and disrupt criminal activities.

Critical to this are six key objectives:

1/ Support and improve intelligence-led enforcement designed to infiltrate and dismantle the activities of organised criminal networks which currently see the illegal exploitation of wildlife as a low risk, high reward, activity.

2/ In line with United Nation’s recommendations, harmonise international penalties and legal sanctions associated with wildlife crime, including deterrent levels of sentencing and the sequestration of assets to increase the risk that those involved in organised wildlife crime are exposed to and to make it clear that, when it comes to wildlife crime, there is nowhere to run.

3/ Support and further encourage those involved in wildlife law enforcement in the field, those involved in applying evidence-based demand reduction strategies and those in the shipping and transport sector to help ensure there is no hiding place for those who would trade in the body parts of some of our planet’s most iconic species.

4/ As endorsed at CITES CoP17, close domestic ivory markets thereby removing the opportunity for illegal wildlife products such as ivory to be laundered through a legal trade.

5/ Destroy or dispose of ivory stockpiles in line with the measures also agreed at CITES CoP17

6/ Harness the talents, energy and commitment of all stakeholders, including civil society, in uniting to defeat wildlife trafficking and secure a future for wild species.  In that regard, I urge UK citizens to sign petition 165905, details of which can be found on the Born Free website (www.bornfree.org.uk)

On behalf of The Born Free Foundation, a member of the Species Survival Network, and our supporters worldwide, we urge the delegates to this Conference to:

Redouble their efforts;

To build on progress to date;

To set targets and timelines for agreed objectives;

To support the implementation of those objectives; and

To respond fully to the deep concerns expressed by people around the world who fear for the survival of wild elephants, rhino, lions and many other species.

Finally, and specifically, we would respectfully ask the Government of Vietnam to further demonstrate its leadership on these issues and its commitment to conservation by introducing measures – including working with partners to resolve human-elephant conflict – that would result in a doubling of the number of wild elephants in the country within the next 10 years

I am grateful for all your hard work and I wish this vitally important meeting great success.

Thank you.”

Will Travers OBE
President and CEO The Born Free Foundation

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Zoo Check team member, Katie Richards, blogs on her recent trip to Edinburgh Zoo

November 11th, 2016

Dear Friends,

As part of Born Free’s long term agenda, I have been visiting zoos for over 30 years. Whilst I have seen some improvements along the way, the vast majority are still significantly substandard. My colleague, Katie Richards has recently been to Edinburgh Zoo and explains all about her visit in her guest blog below.

Blogging off
Will

The newest member of our Zoo Check team, Katie Richards, blogs on her recent trip to Edinburgh Zoo

Since taking up my role within the Zoo Check team 8 months ago, I have visited several zoos across the UK to monitor conditions first hand and to keep an eye on the welfare of the animals. It has been a surprising and sometimes shocking few months, as I have seen many cases of woefully inadequate environments, often lacking in the most basic care, in some of the UK’s most popular zoos.

A recent visit to Edinburgh Zoo stands out in particular. Zoos in the UK have a legal obligation to educate their visitors about biodiversity conservation and to accommodate their animals in appropriate conditions. Yet, on the day of my visit, a capuchin in the indoor primate area was repetitively pacing back and forth in its indoor enclosure, and twisting its neck in exactly the same spot each time. I returned 3 hours later to find, sadly, that the monkey was following exactly the same sequence. Having previously worked at a primate sanctuary, I am familiar with the behaviour of capuchin monkeys in captivity, and it was evident that this monkey was displaying stereotypic behaviour: repetitive, functionless behaviour that develops in some animals in captivity as a result of impoverished or frustrating environments that it may be experiencing or may have experienced in the past.

Capuchins are intelligent primates and it was distressing for me to see this particular individual displaying stereotypic behaviour. It is of course possible that this monkey developed this behaviour elsewhere before arriving at the zoo, but nevertheless it was still on display to the public without any explanation. How can this ever be justified as educational?

Unfortunately, the abnormal behaviour was not limited to the capuchin. I witnessed stereotypic behaviour in the giant anteater, a red-fronted macaw and several other animals.

What was particularly troubling was how visitors appeared to interpret the abnormal behaviours of the animals. For example, at the Asiatic lion enclosure, barriers had been put up with a note to explain that the lions needed privacy. Despite this, several people stood watching as the lions walked back and forth, continuously pacing; again, indicative of stereotypic behaviour. While I stood videoing the lions a young child of around 6 or 7 stood beside me and innocently asked her parent “why is the lion doing that?”. Desperately wanting to answer, I continued to film waiting to hear the response, hoping that the parent would explain that the animal is in fact showing a behaviour that is abnormal. Sadly, the child’s question went unanswered and I can only assume she went home none the wiser.

That one moment really brought home to me just how easy it is for zoos to avoid being truly educational. By presenting visitors with a fleeting encounter with animals in an unnatural environment, how easy it is to overlook the problems of life in captivity. And what little hope there is of inspiring future generations to actively contribute to wildlife conservation, if we must rely on education in zoos. I can honestly say that I have learnt so much more from wildlife documentaries than I ever will at a zoo. While it is so tragic to know that the child never got the correct answer for why the lion was pacing, it is even more tragic to think that a single visit may be the only time that child comes close to seeing an Asiatic lion. It begs the question as to why the animal is there in the first place. Is it a true representation of how lions live naturally in India’s Gir Forest? Not by a long shot, in my opinion. Will the lions currently at Edinburgh Zoo ever be reintroduced back in to the wild where they belong? I am very doubtful.

After my visit, I shared some of the footage on my personal social media account. As usual, the videos received quite a lot of attention with many people commenting on how they have witnessed similar behaviour during their trips to zoos and how it has put them off visiting again. However, I was surprised to receive a comment from someone who works as a zookeeper, saying that the video was a “misrepresentation” of how the lions live at the zoo.
Now, if my video, simply recording what the animals at the zoo were doing on the day of my visit, was a “misrepresentation”, surely the biggest misrepresentation of all is keeping these animals in captivity in a zoo in Scotland, in enclosures that bear little resemblance in terms of space and complexity to their natural habitat – in the name of education?

It is all too easy to forget that we are looking at living, sentient animals in zoos, and it is not good enough to simply accept claims that zoos are educational and necessary for conservation, especially when there are questions about the welfare of these animals.

The downside, it seems to me, far outweigh the meagre ‘benefits’ on offer to either animals or people.

Katie Richards
Zoo Check Officer
Born Free Foundation

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Virginia McKenna’s Born Free

October 27th, 2016

I was going to write about the documentary which was shown on Channel 4 on Sunday evening but then I thought, why? Here is everything you need to know if you are in the UK and haven’t seen the film, or wish to see it again.

Letter from Virginia

I was overwhelmed by the response to the documentary shown on Channel 4 on Sunday evening, charting the story of how the film Born Free was made and how it changed my life, and the lives of my late husband Bill and our eldest son Will, forever.

The many emails and messages I have received have been humbling and deeply touching and I wanted to thank everyone who so kindly wrote.

If you did not see the film then I believe you can watch it by following this link.

Many people have asked me what they can do to help, and my son Will has made the following suggestions which I hope you may find useful.

Please don’t stay silent. We are the voices for the wild animals we hold in trust and who cannot speak for themselves. Whether your passion is lions, or elephants, rhinos or pangolins or, indeed, all wild species, we must ensure our elected leaders make the protection of wildlife a top priority. You can write to your MP or, if you wish, to the Prime Minister herself – I always believe in going to the top!

Please tell your friends and family about the work of the Born Free Foundation. For nearly 33 years we have been fighting for wildlife both in captivity and in its fragile natural habitat. I know that millions of people, like you, care deeply about the future of life on earth. We simply must spread the word.

And finally, if you would be willing, then I invite you to become part of my family, the family of Born Free, through adopting one of our rescued or free-living animals or by joining Born Free and helping make our voice, our impact and our influence even stronger.

I was so incredibly lucky, over 50 years ago, to make a film with Bill that opened our eyes and changed the way we looked at the world. We could not have done that without the Adamsons, and especially George who became a lifelong friend.

Thanks to them, the Spirit of Elsa burns brightly and Born Free is the torchbearer for this and future generations.

I do hope you will want to help keep the flame burning.

Thank you so much.

Blogging off,

Will

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