Archive for December, 2007

Looking up, looking down and looking forward

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Dear Friends,

A slightly longer blog than usual but in wrapping up the year I realise how impossible it is to boil down the Highs and Lows together with our aspirations for the year ahead into a few lines…

Nevertheless, it has been quite a year and my apologies in advance if ‘your’ issue didn’t make it into the list this time – there’s always room for improvement.

So, Happy Christmas and Seasonal Good Wishes to you all.

Let’s make 2008 a year for animals in need.

Blogging off.


2007 Highs

The rescue of lions from appalling zoos in Romania and their relocation to the Born Free/Shamwari Rescue and Education Centres in South Africa (including the lovely Sinbad the lion!)

The interception of 1,000 wild parrots by the Cameroon government and our partners at Last Great Ape Organisation (LAGA), birds which are destined to be released back to the wild

The return of Pinkie, the orphan elephant, to the wild from the Elephant Transit Home sponsored by Born Free Foundation, in Sri Lanka

The featuring of Born Free’s project to conserve the highly endangered Ethiopian Wolf with Graham Norton on BBC1’s Saving Planet Earth

The Born Free ‘Freedom’ Ball, supported by Land Rover, elephant and South African Tourism, featuring a successful Guinness World Record Champagne Pop conducted by Joanna Lumley and sponsored by Graham Beck Wines, which helped to raise a total of more than £140,000 for Born Free.

The successful Born Free TV ads – Adopt an Animal – with Martin Clunes which has provided a Christmas gift worth having, to thousands of people and helped animals around the world.

The presentation to the European Parliament of ENDCAP – the coalition to end the keeping of wild animals in captivity – co-ordinated by Born Free.

The merger of Born Free USA with the Animal Protection Institute to create Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute, a new force for wild animals in need in the USA and around the world.

The launch of the report Animal Ark or Sinking Ship – a Born Free investigation which exposed the lack-lustre truth behind the conservation claims of zoos.

Rescue of Dolo ‘the lion on the chain’ from southern Ethiopia with the Ethiopian Wildlife Department – funded by Born Free.

The launch of the first People & Wildlife Centre in Malawi, a Born Free initiative.

Born Free’s exciting new website which attracts more than 1 million visitors a year – .

The successful lobbying by the Species Survival Network ( to keep the North American Bobcat on CITES Appendix II, thus protecting the species from uncontrolled trade.

Will’s completion of the 72 kilometre Mountain Bike Challenge in Kenya (with the Born Free team) which helped raise thousands of pounds for community conservation (please sponsor Will for 2008 at ).

2007 Lows

The publication of a report by the UK Government’s Circus Working Group, which failed to conclude that wild animals should not be used in circuses.

The failure at the Bali Conference on Climate Change to agree numerical limits on carbon emissions.

The murder of incredibly rare mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The news that wild tiger numbers in India have fallen to as low as 1,300.

The destruction by Newquay Zoo of two perfectly healthy and highly-endangered black-crested macaques because they didn’t have room.

Despite the Japanese decision not to hunt humpback whales, that country’s ongoing policy to slaughter hundreds of minke and fin whales for so-called scientific purposes.

The continued high levels of elephant poaching across much of Africa despite the CITES decision to suspend all future trade for nine years, following a one-off sale.

The decision by the South African authorities not to include canned lion hunting in their list of prohibitive actions pending the outcome of a potentially lengthy court case.

Hopes for 2008

That this year there is truly a change in attitudes to make this a better world for animals and the environment.

That people all over the planet will support Born Free wherever they are.

That the Japanese will stop hunting whales and stop killing and capturing dolphins.

That we will turn the tide for tigers, rhino, elephants and bears and all species threatened by poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

That the wonderful and refreshing spirit of philanthropy that is so energising and inspiring to witness will reach out to wild animals in need (through Born Free).

That the UK will end the use of wild animals in circuses once and for all.

That no more dolphins will be caught from the wild for the captive entertainment business.

That everybody who takes a plane journey will off-set their carbon emissions through Born Free at

That we receive a £10 million donation and change animals lives for good!

That we rediscover the attributes of tolerance, compassion and respect for our fellow human beings and for all the passengers on this little planet of ours.

Share the spirit of Elsa this Christmas

Friday, December 14th, 2007

Dear Friends

A Christmas present for wild animals in need!

Born Free has been making waves for wild animals for nearly 24 years here in the UK and at our projects around the world but, in the USA, we are still a relatively ‘new kid on the block’.  However, this week, Born Free USA merged with the Animal Protection Institute to form Born Free USA United with Animal Protection Institute. 

So, wild animals in need in the USA held in zoos, circuses, as exotic pets, trapped or subjected to trade, can count on a new and even more dynamic force, bringing the spirit of Elsa to their aid. 

The new organisation has a head office in Sacramento, California and is also operates in Washington DC, the nation’s capital.  I am very excited about the prospects of Born Free’s global message ringing out around the world and I hope and believe that people who care about animals, wherever they are, will join us and dedicate themselves to changing animals’ lives for good.

I am going to try and do one or two more blogs before the end of the year but in case I don’t, may I take this early opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas (if that is your festival) and heartfelt Season’s Greetings (if it is not). May 2008 be everything you want it to be and a year when we really take care of our world and all its passengers.

Blogging off


Flight to Freedom – Part 2!

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

Latest Update 21st January

Dear Friends,

I recently reported on the fantastic news that Ofir Drori and LAGA (Last Great Ape Organisation) had helped rescue 500 African grey parrots from the illegal trade in Cameroon, and I am overjoyed to report that many of these have already been released to the wild. What a tremendous feeling it is to know that these parrots are now back where they should be, flying free.

But the good news does not end there! I have just heard from Ofir that yet another dealer has been arrested and a further 500 parrots seized! And the Minister has pledged that these parrots will also be returned to the wild where they belong. So many animals’ lives changed for the better in one week is truly a remarkable and heart-warming story.

To quote Ofir from his email, “The total parrots to be released to the wild is 1,000! That’s around one million dollars worth of contraband for this week alone. If we include the Taiping gorillas, that have been returned to Limbe at the weekend from South Africa, that’s 2.6 million dollars of deadly price tags removed from our wildlife in a single week!”

This second operation was carried out in Douala airport and Ofir estimates that the arrested dealer is one of the biggest live animal traffickers in Cameroon. Although it was yet another fierce battle against high level corruption, the Minister who LAGA has been working with has pledged to intensify the fight against corruption and has personally instructed the release of the seized parrots to the wild. Again LAGA’s amazing skills and tenacity have shown that corruption does not always win, and that even in one of the most challenging countries in the world justice and animal protection can triumph.

The parrots have been taken to the Limbe Wildlife Centre, which recently also took custody of the Taiping Four gorillas. Born Free, working together with the World Parrot Trust, is very pleased to be able to assist LAGA and Limbe with this hugely important work to protect and conserve Cameroon’s magnificent wildlife from unscrupulous exploitation.

I can’t tell you how happy I am to report to you all this encouraging news.

Blogging off.


dead parrots
Some of the parrots weren’t so lucky