Archive for April, 2009

Earth Day 2009

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Dear Friends,

Today is Earth Day! Born Free is joining the tens of thousands of organisations and hundreds of millions of people around the world who are uniting in celebration of this planet’s incredible variety of life – splendid, amazing, and increasingly under threat. That’s why I’m asking everyone pledges to do one thing to protect and conserve all life on earth.

What an opportunity!

Just imagine the impact we could have if everyone reading this blog did just one thing from the list below.

I am constantly amazed by the enthusiasm of our supporters, each and every one of you. From lobbying MPs to running marathons, putting on events, investigating cruelty, jumping out of planes – Born Free supporters are awesome. I am sure that on Earth Day you will prove to be no different.

Five Born Free Things You Can Do On Earth Day:

1. Adopt An Animal – by adopting an animal you are protecting and caring for an individual in need and supporting the conservation of the species in its wild environment

2. Offset your Carbon – our tree planting scheme on Mount Kenya is not only protecting a critically important environment, it is also helping to offset your carbon travel footprint

3. Join Activate – Born Free’s successful cohort of letter-writers who constantly use ‘the power of the pen’ to make a difference for captive and wild animals around the world

4. Become a Member of Born Free. Are you mad about manatees; wild about wolves; entranced by elephants? By becoming a Member of Born Free you are supporting all of the wonderful things that Born Free does to stop wild animal suffering and protect some of our planet’s most endangered species and habitats.

5. Go to your My Space, Twitter, Bebo, YouTube or Facebook page. I am sure most of you have one of these top social networking sites! Now, in the most creative and compelling way you can tell ALL your friends what you did for Born Free and the animals on Earth Day – and ask them all to do something as well!

Actually do this one as well as any of the others. That way we spread the word.

What have you decided to do? ? Please write to let me know! Email or write to Will Travers, Born Free Foundation, 3 Grove House, Foundry Lane, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 5PL

One Earth, One Day, One Thing – easy!

Blogging off,


Southfork in the Surrey Hills? Dallas for Dorking? No Thanks!

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Dear Friends

Sometimes global issues make me mad – and sometimes it is matters closer to home!

Following hard on the heels of the Government’s welcome announcement that a large area of the South Downs will be designated a National Park comes the extraordinary news that a planning application has been received to establish a 120 ft high exploratory oil and gas drilling rig on Forestry Commission land, high in the Surrey Hills near the village of Coldharbour, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The ‘rig’ will be lit day and night and will be up for at least five months and possibly up to three years. If oil and gas are found then it could become permanent. Construction will require 1,200 HGV movements over a 20 week period, and the operation will cover an area of excess of 2-acres.


Surrey County Council are considering this proposal in May. If approved – and if oil and gas are found – it could herald the destruction of an area enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people living in or visiting the area, just 20 miles to the south of London. Peace, tranquillity, nature, wildlife, fresh air ….. not if this proposal is approved.

The website (if you are as fired up as I am about this issue) is

Sorry to bang on about something so local but it seems symptomatic of the way we are willing to consider sacrificing our heritage for a drop of the black stuff.

Something to do with international wildlife protection and conservation soon – I promise.

Blogging off


Project to Apply the Law on Fauna

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

It never ceases to amaze me the lengths to which some dedicated individuals will go, in the name of conservation. Their passion, their commitment, their willingness to push for greater protection for wildlife is no surprise, and something I fully share. But the bravery, selflessness and readiness to endanger their own lives goes above and beyond what most of us could imagine, let alone demonstrate.

This bravery is no more evident than amongst those tackling the illegal wildlife trade throughout Africa, and beyond. Laws do exist to prohibit the hunting and trading of certain endangered species. Sadly, however, the increasingly international market for bushmeat, exotic pets, and rare wildlife products – believed to be third only to the illegal drugs and arms trades in global value – thrives and, too often, law enforcement is too weak to combat it.

Without exception, the resources at the disposal of those charged with tackling this problem are dwarfed by those of the traders themselves. Pay is low, threats to personal safety are high, and the likelihood of securing successful arrests are, at best, limited by poor understanding of the law, or more often than not, completely doomed due to a lack of will to implement it. Even when arrests are made, a quick dollar or two is usually sufficient motivation for the unscrupulous to loosen the authorities’ grip, set free even the most renowned offenders and allow them to perpetrate further wildlife crimes.

Faced with such challenges, why would anyone keep going?

Yet they do. And finally, in the Republic of Congo, a ray of light has shone through the clouds of apathy, ignorance and corruption, where a sentence for wildlife crime was passed for the very first time a week ago. Arrested for trading chimpanzees in December 2008, a trafficker has been fined and sent to prison for one year – broadcasting a warning not only to would-be illegal traders but also encouraging conservationists to recognise that, however gradually, they are making progress towards ensuring that previously ignored wildlife laws will be fully enforced.

I wholeheartedly congratulate our friends at the PALF (Project to Apply the Law on Fauna) in Republic of Congo for continuing their laudable work, as well as the Heads of Departments and supporting staff at the Forestry Ministry, Police Dept, Justice Ministry and the State Court. Long may their successful collaborations continue.

Let us hope that this signals the beginning of the end for illegal wildlife poachers, dealers and smugglers and those that sustain them that a day of reckoning approaches thanks to a very challenging, yet encouraging, beginning for PALF.

Blogging off!