Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Travellers' Animal Alert

Millions of animals are exploited worldwide for ‘entertainment’ in zoos, circuses and dolphinaria or used as props for souvenir tourist photographs.  The Born Free Foundation’s Travellers’ Animal Alert initiative provides a way for holiday-makers to raise their concerns by sending in reports and photos of animal suffering.  Animal Alert investigates neglect, fights cruelty and works with tour operators, travel companies, foreign governments and other organisations to take positive action and help improve animals’ lives.  Together we investigate notorious facilities, ensure public concerns are addressed, and phase out exploitative activities.

Born Free receives thousands of reports from the public concerning the exploitation of animals witnessed in the UK or whilst travelling abroad.

Travellers’ Animal Alert in action:

  • Born Free responds to travellers’ concerns about animal exploitation in captivity or in the wild
  • Born Free addresses public concerns and seeks improvements to animal welfare or relevant national legislation within the country
  • Born Free encourages the public to alert Born Free of any wild animal welfare problems they may see on their travels both at home and abroad
  • Born Free generates greater public awareness of the issues surrounding wild animal suffering and exploitation
  • Born Free influences and encourages a greater respect for animals

TAKE ACTION - You can help by sending us your reports

Have you seen animals in poor conditions in a zoo, or abused in a circus or dolphinaria?  Did you experience bad practice during a wildlife safari or viewing excursion?  Are you concerned about a ‘dancing’ bear or animals being used as photographic props? Born Free wants to hear from YOU and together we can make a difference!

Fill in a Complaints Form

Log your reports of wild animal exploitation or suffering on one of our online forms (see below for advice on the sort of info we ideally need)

Call Our Hotline

Call our Travellers' Alert Hotline on 0845 003 5960 night or day.  Provide as much detail as possible and your report could make a real difference to an animal in need.

Send us a Letter

Write to us and provide us with your reports of wild animal exploitation or suffering.

Voice Your Concerns

Please raise your concerns with the relevant individuals, institutions or authorities. It is so important they hear directly from YOU – a concerned individual, tourist or customer.

For advice and information on who to write to, please visit our letter writing page


Photographic evidence and video footage are particularly useful!

The more information we receive the more animals we can try to help.  It is vital that the information you send us about your experience includes all the necessary facts. Describing cages as ‘small’ and animal conditions as ‘terrible’ will not provide enough information to encourage relevant authorities to take action. This is the sort of information we need:


  • Which animals are involved? How many? Describe their condition.
  • What does the 'entertainment' consist of?
  • Is direct contact involved?
  • Who are the people or company behind the exploitation?
  • Is the event or establishment advertised or promoted?
  • Who is involved in this promotion? (e.g. hotels, holiday reps etc)
  • Is there literature you can collect? (e.g. leaflets, brochures etc)
  • Who are the main audience or visitors?
  • What other details can you note? (e.g. size of enclosures, any enrichment etc) 
If you are about to visit a zoo, circus etc. download our checklist - PDF 46KB


Each report received by the Born Free Foundation is reviewed by our dedicated team and logged onto a database to be used for further analysis. 

Born Free will respond, in writing, to the complainant providing information on how they can take the matter further.  In addition, dependent upon the detail provided in the report, Born Free will write to the relevant authorities and/or the captive establishment to try and address the concerns of the complainant. Feedback will be provided when appropriate. 

Based on the reports we receive, we are able to identify ‘hot spots’ and can focus targeted campaign activities on the most urgent areas.  

Born Free also works closely with the travel industry and other wildlife organisations around the world to tackle travellers’ concerns about animal exploitation in the wild or captivity. In consultation with ABTA (the British Travel Association) and its members, Born Free informs the industry about cases of global animal exploitation, received through Travellers’ Animal Alert, which are then addressed by the industry through their application of the Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism.  


Born Free regularly receives calls for help in regard to captive animals in need. Sadly, there are many more animals in need of rescue than there are sanctuary spaces worldwide - it is therefore vital we use precious sanctuary spaces not only to rescue animals in need, but also to highlight the problems facing captive wildlife (e.g. Private ownership, trade, substandard zoos etc.). Please view this flowchart which outlines the type of considerations Born Free makes when we receive information about animals in need from our supporters. 

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Born Free Foundation
3 Grove House, Foundry Lane
, Horsham, RH13 5PL, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906 ... twitterfacebookyoutuberssenews