GEORGE ADAMSON August 20th – a Date to Remember

George Adamson

Together with his wife Joy and a lioness called ‘Elsa’, George Adamson changed the way the world looked at lions – in fact he changed the way the world looked at wild animals. No longer remote, dangerous, ‘red in tooth and claw’, thanks to the Adamsons’ work ‘beasts’ became individuals, with personalities, feelings, emotions.

That revelation was embraced by people such as Jane Goodall, Biruté Galdikas, Daphne and David Sheldrick, Cynthia Moss, Joyce Poole, Dian Fossey, Ian Redmond and many more, each one adding to our growing knowledge and understanding. Without knowing it they had begun to help define Compassionate ConservationTM, a term that Born Free and others now place at the core of their conservation work – where individual animals and their needs are considered as part of conservation initiatives to deliver better, more effective and more compassionate outcomes.

George was one of the founder Patrons of Zoo Check, the precursor to The Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by a handful of activists including Bill, Virginia and myself. He was a close personal friend of the family, staying with us for over a month when, together with my father, for hour after hour,  he recorded the memories, recollections and reflections that would become his final book, My Pride and Joy.

His murder, 23 years ago today, August 20th 1989, driving to the rescue of a guest being assaulted by bandits near his remote camp in Kora Reserve, sent a shudder round the world. The final words of his book seemed prophetic..  “Who will now care for the animals…. Who will raise their voices when mine is carried away on the wind…

The answer should in some way reassure his spirit, wherever it is. Thousands of people, either through their support for Born Free or the work of Tony Fitzjohn, his protégée, continue to raise their voices not just for the animals of Kora,  or the animals of Kenya –  but for all wild animals in need around the world.  That is his legacy.

Today we acknowledge the passing of a wildlife hero and rededicate ourselves to keeping the spirit of Elsa burning bright.

Join Born Free and Help Keep Wildlife in the Wild!

13 Responses to “GEORGE ADAMSON August 20th – a Date to Remember”

  1. Margarita Doychinova Says:

    I don’t know the death date of George Adamson, but I know the story of Adomson family. They are my heros. You are my heros, too! Thank you for your work, because on that way Adomson’ are live!!!!

  2. Linda Hardy Says:

    A great man who stood tall for what he believed in even if it meant standing alone!!!

    Ordinary people can change the world view and this he did…I am respect always…Linda

  3. michela Says:

    beautiful store

  4. Ken Wiens Says:

    The films Born Free and those that were spin offs were a tremendous education and inspiration to me. Since viewing Born Free when I was a young child and viewing again recently I have a profound appreciation and love for lions and other animals. Wherever they are suffering those who are able and willing need to step in and help. I do not have much but if I can help sometime I would like to know how.

  5. Jorge Lobl Says:

    Some much generosity and love in a world of hate, greed, evil, in which dignity and hypocrisy rule, you have been and will always be missed, you will always remain a beacon in the horizon for others to follow, as we aspire of a better world in which humans leave the rest of creatures take their place and space, in harmony and respect, with love and care.

    Some believe you were ahead of your time. I believe you would have always been ahead of your time because it was you who started the change and pioneers are always ahead of their times.

    Just.. Thank you George Adamson !!!

  6. Sue Says:

    Who will now care for the animals, who will raise their voices when mine is carried away on the wind – WE WILL George Adamson. Remembering you & the way you changed the worlds view on wild animals.

  7. Cay Says:

    No one love and understand lions more than George Adamson

  8. michela Says:

    fantastic story

  9. Tanya Says:

    Your legend will never die, George!…. RIP, you are a great man!

  10. Averil Mackeurtan Says:

    What has happened to the animals since his death and Tony Fitzjohn?

  11. Mina Nakhai Says:

    The world shall always remember Joy and George Adamson, Elsa and Christian. The impact that the book Born Free and subsequently the film by the same name had on people’s perception of wild animals and Compassionate Conservation is underestimated. Neither George nor Joy lived comfortable or safe lives, but they lived a free one and perhaps that is why they valued freedom so much for their lions. Joy once said that she does not need to go to a church to be near God, she can see Him in a crimson sunset over the African plains and hear Him in the roar of a lion.

  12. virginia mckenna Says:

    I want to echo my son Will’s words of love,admiration and gratitude.George was unique. Modest,unassuming, with a delightful sense of humour, he would be amazed that we are talking and writing about him 23 years on. It is true to say that without his knowledge and understanding of lions, Bill and I would not have been able to form the real relationships that we did with the various animals with whom we worked on the film “Born Free”. He was our guide and inspiration.
    I think he would be very happy today to see the growing numbers of people who are fighting for the freedom of wild animals and the protection of their natural homes. I know I speak for Bill and all our children when I say that we feel truly blessed to have known him and to have had a deep friendship which never faded. Virginia

  13. Greer Noble Ballantine Says:

    It was an honor and a privilege to meet Joy and George during their visit to Kariba in the late 60′s, with their leopard. What an incredible tribute to mankind. I do so admire those who have the courage to follow their hearts. The Adamson’s did just that. Joy too is a woman after my own heart.. there’s no temple more magnificent than the wilds, no miracle more breathtaking than an African sunset and no sermon more moving than the roar of a lion.. that is freedom.