Archive for August, 2009

Discover Kenya with Born Free’s founder (my Mum!)

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Dear Friends

I have been on holiday with my mum many, many times (not really surprising!) but now it is your turn!

On 31st October, a small and exclusive group of adventurers will journey, with Virginia, to Kenya, where they will share a few days in the land of Born Free.

The stunning Elsa’s Kopje lodge (which I can honestly say is one of the most gorgeous places on the planet) will be your home for three nights and Virginia will be with you for two of them sharing her experiences and memories of Born Free days, the film and our work for wildlife since then.

I am not going and I am getting excited just thinking about it!

All the details are on our website at  After Virginia has left, the trip will continue to Amboseli, Tsavo and the coast – all jewels in their own right – and it will be an amazing adventure.  The trip has been organised (in close collaboration with Born Free) by our friends at Kuoni.  I know that there are a very small number of places still available on this exclusive safari (no more than 19 guests) so please contact Lisa Maskell on 01306 744703 or email if you would like to find out more.

Blogging off


Elephants in Peril

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Dear Friends

I listened to a programme on Radio 4 last night on the current state of elephant poaching and the ivory trade and I wanted to tell you about it.

Here is the link

I’m afraid if you listen to the show it confirms Born Free’s predictions – things are bad! Although we were not one of the contributors to the actual programme, we fundamentally contribute to the work of just about everyone who appeared on it (Cynthia Moss, Soila Sayialel, Nora Njiraini, Ofir Drori, Sam Wasser, Danny Woodley, Patrick Omondi and more).

On the show you will hear Dr Sam Wasser of University of Washington, Seattle, estimate the number of elephants that are killed each year at a staggering 38,000. His estimation is based on data collected by Born Free which, tragically, we believe to accurately reflect what is really going on.

You will also hear that 12 tonnes has been recovered this year in major seizures up to June and I can report that at least a further 555kg has been intercepted since then. In fact, a Born Free team was at the KWS office the week of 27th July when a major seizure came in.

There are three important strategies necessary to bring the situation back under control:

  1. We need to provide support to the men and women in the field and, in particular, to the 21 countries of the African Elephant Coalition who are strongly opposed to any further relaxations in ivory trade controls.
  2. We need to lobby intensively to reverse the effect of the disastrous decisions made by the European Union, the British Government and the CITES Standing Committee which led to 108 tonnes of stockpiled ivory being sold to Japan and China at the end of 2008 and which, in our view, has significantly increased demand and the threat to wild elephants.
  3. We need to mobilise the public again. In 1989 when the debate on the future of the ivory trade was the hottest conservation issue on the planet, I personally took 600,000 signatures to the CITES meeting in Lausanne which, I believe, contributed strongly to the resulting vote to ban the trade. Unlike elephant memories, human memories are short and the public either seems to have forgotten or now believes there is little or no trade in elephant ivory to worry about. I am writing to all the influential people I know to ask for their help and support in any way. But each and every one of us can do something to help prevent this situation getting even worse. Our combined networks are powerful. You must know people who know people who know people who make the decision – decisions on policy, decisions on media and information, decisions on financial support and more. YOU can use social networking to spread the word!

If you have half an hour to listen to this extremely well put together programme by Andrew Luck-Baker and if then you have another half an hour to take action, I can honestly ask no more.

Blogging off.