Archive for January, 2011

Elsa: The Lioness That Changed the World

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

(Natural World: BBC2 7.00pm Tuesday 1st February)

A New Film that Will Astound You

Dear Friends

On Tuesday evening, BBC2’s Natural World will present “Elsa: The Lioness That Changed The World.”

This new film really is worth watching. It not only contains some amazing and wonderful footage of Elsa, Joy and George Adamson and my dear mother and late father, it also confirms that Elsa’s story was a catalyst for change and that the attitude of millions of people towards wild animals will never be the same again.

It also responds to George Adamson’s challenge when he said “Who will now care for the animals… who will raise their voices, when mine is carried away on the wind…?” The answer is The Born Free Foundation.

Wild lions are threatened and endangered across so much of their African range and so many other species and their wild habitats are under pressure as a result of human activities. It is vital that we take action now to prevent animal suffering and protect species from further decline.

Lion numbers are down by perhaps 75 percent in the last 30 years – can we stop a disaster from becoming a crisis or will the lion become, like the tiger, a species on the brink?

Please put 7.00 pm Tuesday evening, the 1st of February, in your diary. It is a film worthy of an hour of your time and, if you are out, set the recorder.

Finally please do me a personal favor (and if you would be willing to do it right now while it’s fresh in your mind, that would be wonderful): If you have a website or are on Facebook or if you tweet, please tell your friends, family, supporters, colleagues, fellow professionals, everyone about Elsa: The Lioness That Changed The World”

Thanks and be inspired


PS We are hopeful that there will be DVD of the film and that it will be available shortly through Born Free Foundation. Please keep checking our website for more details, or sign up for our regular monthly email updates.

See for further program details.

The stress of orca captivity

Thursday, January 27th, 2011
Orca at Seaworld - (c)Stig Nygaard/CC

An orca at Seaworld (c)Stig Nygaard/CC

Two former Sea World animals trainers with more than 12 years combined experience have released a report documenting how social and health issues plague captive orcas, the largest member of the dolphin family. Ex-trainers John Jett and Jeff Ventre (now a professor and doctor respectively) also note that it’s likely that the intense confinement and behavioural deprivation led to the death of Dawn Brancheau, who was killed by a frustrated young male orca in 2010.

The report states “In the wild orcas typically spend their entire lives within tight family groupings”. Life after capture is bleak and the report notes; “Orcas captured from the wild have been traumatically extracted from the security, comfort and mentoring which these groupings provide…confined to small, acoustically-dead, concrete enclosures where they must live in extremely close proximity to other whales with which they often share no ancestral, cultural or communication similarities. The resultant infighting amongst captive orcas is exacerbated by virtue of having no place to run.”

According to the report’s authors not only is aggression towards humans commonplace among captive orca, but infighting between whales who have “no place to run”, in one instance led to a female orca (captive for 11.9 years!) severing an artery in her upper jaw in a display of dominance over Corky, another wild-caught orca. Over the next 45 minutes, she slowly bled out, spouting blood from her blowhole until she died. See this video for Corky’s story.

This new report once again leaves us asking how many more dolphins will be torn from their families and be denied the chance to choose a mate or roam the vast oceans before we this exploitation ends? There can be no justification for using these animals in circus-style performances. Dolphins, like all other wild animals, should be admired for their amazing natural attributes and protected in the wild, where they belong.

The full report can be read here.