Dear Friends,

Three moments of inspiration have caught my attention recently.

The massive ivory burn in Kenya, which I was fortunate enough to attend. While some people have trotted out that lame old lament – couldn’t the ivory have been sold, flooded the market, raise funds for conservation (perhaps it would be a good idea if they looked at the history of the ivory trade since 1979, they might change their minds) – the majority, including the thousand or more Kenyans who attended a rain-sodden Nairobi National Park to witness the conflagration, agreed: The only place ivory has any value is on an elephant.

It was a mournful experience but at the same time uplifting. It felt like, for once, the world is moving in the right direction.

I was inspired!

Then there was the 90th Birthday of our greatest living naturalist – the incomparable Sir David Attenborough. No one has done more to bring to our attention the wonders of the natural world in all its diversity and splendour than he. No one has increased our understanding of the complexities of our living planet more than Sir David. And no one has brought to our attention in a more compelling way how the species and habitats we so admire are under threat as never before.

That Sir David is a national treasure is beyond question. That he is a natural treasure is even more fitting.

I am inspired!

And finally, travelling with my mum, Virginia, to make a film encompassing Born Free’s amazing heritage, its present challenges and its ambitious future, has revealed to me what a remarkable adventure she and my late father Bill have taken us on. The time she seems to have – to create, – to speak with everyone, hear their story, sympathise with their predicaments and encourage their efforts, is quite remarkable.

We were thumbing through her copy of My Pride and Joy, George Adamson’s last book which he wrote with my Dad when he stayed with us in England, recuperating from an eye operation. A loose page of blank paper fell out. ¬†Except it wasn’t blank. It was covered in my father’s free-flowing, muscular hand-writing. He had written about George and Joy and their abhorrence of zoos. It was a sign. It was as if he were there with us.

We were inspired!

We live in a world of trials and tribulations, a world beset with problems and injustices, so many of our own making.

We all need inspirational leaders who motivate and encourage, who show us how to be better, more compassionate, more humane human beings.

So, who inspires you – and who, in turn, do you inspire?

Blogging off


8 Responses to “INSPIRATION!”

  1. Beth Says:

    I am inspired by true random acts of kindness, people who work tirelessly into old age, and my Grandma,Florence Shuttleworth, who age 10yrs brought her sister back to England from Berlin when the First World War broke out,sang in three languages, was the daughter of the professor of languages at Berlin University, and at 96 felt that her life was of little worth-I was able to reassure her it was the most valuable one I ever knew as she was the one person who loved!
    I inspire only through avocation

  2. Anna Spencer Says:

    You, your Mum and the hard workers at Born
    Free are the most inspirational people I know.
    As well as showing great compassion for
    animals, you care about human beings.
    Virginia is amazing! Now I have a new phone
    with the Internet, I am able to watch all the Born
    Free videos – you seem to have been doing a lot
    of travelling lately!

    The only person I have inspired is my late father
    who always said I was the most caring person he knew.
    The fact that the piece of paper, with your
    Father’s writing on it fell out of the book, is
    certainly a sign that he is still around, but in
    a different form. I have had similar experiences

  3. Sandy Says:

    The Born Free ethos of compassion in conservation inspires me. Treating and caring for everyone, human or animal, as individual.

  4. Shane Stevens Says:

    Great piece, and couldn’t agree more! But second the previous post. Both you and your families life long work without doubt has saved thousands of lives & brought to the world the tragic reality of poaching. A fight that seems will never end, but a fight worth continuing. I hope on your 90th B’day, others will hold you & everyone associated with born free in the same high regard. All the best. Shane.

  5. Tracy Meredith Says:

    The Born Free Foundation inspires me, Virginia, Will & Bill / Jill Robinson from Animal Asia / Ingrid Newark from Peta / Jan Creamer from Animal Defenders International, there are more marvellous individuals that have made a massive difference to animals in this cruel world we live in. Change is taking place but it is so slow. I applaud you all, you are magnificent and so inspiring.

  6. Greer Noble Says:

    What a beautiful letter, Will. I would love to be a fly on the wall in your travels :) Can’t wait to see the film you’re making for your foundation! As you may know we’re now based in Kenya, in Watamu, if there is anything at all we can do for Born Free please don’t hesitate to let me know.

    Hope your book sales are doing well, especially My Funny Africa… here is a review you might find amusing:

    By KK (Colin) Brown
    I have just finished reading ‘My Funny Africa’ (for the second time), and can only say that it is an absolutely SUPERB selection of African tales, anecdotes and sketches! It would be curmudgeonly even to attempt to pick out favourites, because they are all so different: although possibly Wilbur Smith will have to pull up his socks a bit if he wants to get into the next edition :) Seriously, this is a really fabulous selection and would make a wonderful present for anyone who already is (or might fall) under Africa’s spell. Being of Scottish extraction, might I suggest that if you treat your copy very gently, you will probably be able to wrap it for someone as a gift, saving any further outlay. Having read it though, I doubt that you will want to give it away. I shall be VERY surprised if anyone who reviews this book, gives it any less than the full 5 ‘stars’.

  7. Anne Greaves Says:

    Sorry I still wonder at the massive burning of Ivory, in no way do I support elephants being hunted for ivory but have to ask if more could not be done with the sale of one Ivory. Surely flooding the market with a commodity reduces demand. And the money raised would build more sanctuaries, fences and pay vigilant Rangers. I know you mean the burning to ba a signal of feelings toward the ruthlless people who slay an animal for commerce. However evil money has to be fought with resource which are scarce and could have been added to withe the sale of this Ivory. How does a mass of blackened pieces fight ignorance and demand in today’s world.

  8. Elina Says:

    I am inspired by people who stand up for people and animals who can’t protect themselves. I am inspired by people who do great amazing things whenever they are told it can’t be done. You organisation is inspiring, I hope mine can be as inspiring one day!