Our 30th Anniversary
2014 – Born Free’s 30th Anniversary year! My Mum Virginia and I, and all at Born Free, can hardly believe it!
Not only that, but it is 50 years ago that cameras rolled to shoot the classic film, ‘Born Free’, which was the genesis of it all. And 20 years since our Founder and inspiration, my Dad, Bill, passed away.
Sometimes it’s good to look to the achievements and challenges of the past to inspire us for the battles of the future.
Our Zoo Check campaigns, highlighting the plight of wild animals locked away for life for our so-called ‘enlightenment’ – NOT! Our success at helping bring to an end the captive exploitation of dolphins in the UK. Our work to bring the curtain down on the use of wild animals in circuses (to become a reality in England in 2015). Our exposure of the countless slum zoos that still persist across the EU, despite the introduction of the European Zoos Directive.
Our conservation work, helping secure a future for tigers across the Satpuda landscape, the largest remaining area of viable tiger habitat in India. The 19 years (and counting) support we have given – and about £1 million – to conserving the beautiful and rare Ethiopian wolf (just 500 in all the world). The tens of thousands of tiny turtles that have safely made it to the Indian Ocean thanks to our partners at Sea Sense. The elephants of Kenya, Tanzania, Burkina Faso and, as we speak, Ethiopia, that have a better chance of escaping the poacher’s bullet because of Born Free and the rangers we support.
Our relentless efforts to curtail the predations of the international wildlife trade that is the demise of millions of wild animals each and every year, shot, trapped, snared, netted, for their tusks, horns, bones, or skins – or sold live to endure an all-too-short existence as a pet or in a zoo or circus, detained – for life – for our ‘pleasure’.
I am very proud of what we have achieved over the last 30 years and what we achieve every day, thanks to the unremitting support of our donors, members, adopters, activators, corporate and media partners, patrons, sponsors and friends.
They, and everyone at Born Free, our sister organisation, Born Free USA, and our Born Free offices in Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa and Sri Lanka, are determined that the demise of life on earth will NOT take place on our watch.
So what will the next year hold, this special year, our 30th and what will you do to recognise this extraordinary milestone? Well there will be some incredible opportunities for you to join us at events or on a special holiday (I hope to be climbing Kilimanjaro in October – join me!), but the chance to join us, adopt an animal in need of care, treat your friends to something extra special from the growing range of gifts in our online shop, join the team that gets results as part of Activate, take part in a sponsored activity (we have loads of ideas), get connected by subscribing to our free monthly E-News, find us on Facebook or Twitter, watch out for more Born Free films, field reports and video-blogs on YouTube… The list goes on and the choice is yours!
On 13th February, the UK Government will host a pivotal Heads of State meeting to highlight and, I hope, take major steps to tackle the illegal wildlife trade that is driving so many species – elephants, rhino, tigers, lions, great apes, birds, fish, reptiles and many more – to the brink. These are issues that Born Free has been campaigning on for many years – sometimes as a lonely voice speaking out against the devastating impact of trade, legal and illegal. Maybe that meeting will mark a turning point, when the creatures we share this planet with will find their voice, be given the recognition they deserve and be given the protection and care they desperately need in order to ensure their survival long into the future… Or at least for the next 30 years and more!