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.
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 co.uk 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 – www.bornfree.org.uk .
The successful lobbying by the Species Survival Network (www.ssn.org) 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 www.justgiving.com/tentofour ).
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 www.bornfree.org.uk/get-involved/carbon-offsetting/
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.