Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Kenya Airways

Kenya Airways Joins Forces with Born Free

Kenya Airways has joined forces with Born Free to raise much needed funds for our wildlife conservation projects around the world through their Change Brings Change in-flight collection programme. The partnership was unveiled at the Nairobi National Park when Virginia McKenna O.B.E, Born Free’s  Founder, and Kenya Airways' then CEO, Dr Titus Naikuni, (both seen here) signed a contract at the site of the famous ivory burn in Nairobi’s National Park.

Dr Titus Naikuni, said that the airline had entered the partnership to make a contribution towards the conservation of African wildlife. “With the threat facing wildlife, which is our heritage in Africa, it is important for the private sector to get more involved in stopping the vice,” he said.

The partnership comes in the wake of a surge in wildlife poaching across Africa with elephants and rhinos being among the worst hit.

Virginia McKenna said that it requires joint efforts from different players to mount a successful war against wildlife poaching. “The private sector in Africa should take a more critical role in preventing animal suffering and protecting the endangered species and we are delighted that Kenya Airways has chosen to do with us”.

To find out more about Kenya Airways and their services please visit their website

Rhino Anti-Poaching Equipment Donation - September 2015

Following Kenya Airways’ donation of equipment to the Kenya Wildlife Service’s rhino anti-poaching teams in Nairobi and Lake Nakuru National Parks back in November 2014 they have now also very kindly donated monitoring and bunker rehabilitation equipment, including binoculars, GPS, solar panels, batteries and inverts, to KWS for the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary in Tsavo West National Park helping them to enhance their surveillance activities.

New Inflight Film Featuring Virginia McKenna and Brian May

Kenya Airways continue to fly the flag for Born Free with their on-board ‘Change Brings Change’ collections and have recently created a new inflight film featuring our very own Virginia McKenna and legendary Queen guitarist Brian May. The film which highlights the partnership and showcases our ongoing work to conserve Africa’s wildlife is now being shown on all Kenya Airways flights so make sure to keep an eye out the next time you fly!

Kenya Airways Corporate Travel Dinner

Born Free was lucky to be the chosen charity for a recent corporate travel event at the prestigious 8 Northumberland Avenue hotel in London that Kenya Airways were sponsoring with an amazing £7850 being raised from the night’s fundraising activities which included an auction and raffle with prizes courtesy of the luxurious Finch Hattons resort in Kenya's Tsavo National Park, Richard Branson's stunning safari camp, Mahali Mzuri, in the Masai Mara and the Amboseli Serena safari lodge in Amboseli National Park. Born Free’s patron Peter Andre also made an appearance alongside our President Will Travers to show their thanks and speak to the guests about the work of Born Free.

Peter Andre with the Born Free and Kenya Airways team

Kenya Airways Fly Rescued Lionesses Home to Africa

On 20th January 2015 Kenya Airways helped Born Free with the relocation of our two rescued lionesses, Maggie & Sonja, to their new home at our Big Cat Rescue Centre in Shamwari, South Africa.

The epic journey took place on the inaugural Kenya Airways B787 Dreamliner flight from London Heathrow via Nairobi to Johannesburg and singer, TV Star and Born Free Patron, Peter Andre, even made a special trip airside to see the lionesses as they are loaded on to the plane to start the 6,000 mile journey.

The team at Kenya Airways were proud to be able to offer Maggie and Sonja passage to Africa. Sally Peters, Marketing Manager of the airline, which has worked closely with the Born Free Foundation on numerous projects, including the inflight ‘Change Brings Change’ appeal, said: “We are delighted to have our new Dreamliner operating out of London Heathrow but to have such special passengers on board makes this is a truly memorable flight.”

Rhino Anti-Poaching Equipment Donation – November 2014

Born Free and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) would like to extend a big thank you to Kenya Airways for their wonderful donation of equipment to KWS’s rhino anti-poaching teams in Nairobi and Lake Nakuru National Parks which included binoculars, tents and modern GPS support as well as additional funding for the training of rangers within the KWS Rhino Monitoring Team.

Speaking during the handover of the equipment at KWS Headquarters, Kenya Airways’ Marketing Director Chris Diaz said that the donation demonstrated commitment by the airline to support the conservation of wildlife.“The fight against wildlife poaching requires concerted efforts from all of us. This is the reason Kenya Airways has chosen to get involved in supporting KWS to fight this vice through skills improvement and equipment,” Mr Diaz added.

On his part, Born Free Foundation Kenya’s Country Manager, Tim Oloo, said: "Working together is the only way to succeed in our joint mission to protect and conserve Kenya's – and indeed the world's – wildlife heritage for future generations. Rhino are symbolic of that heritage - an ancient species whose current plight is entirely as a result of human greed, superstition and ignorance. It is our responsibility and duty to ensure that this amazing creature is not lost on our watch. That is why, in partnership with our good friends at Kenya Airways, and as part of the Change Brings Change programme, we are delighted to be making this strategic contribution to the professional efforts of the dedicated KWS rhino team to enable them to carry out their live-saving job to the very best of their ability”.

The donation was received by Julius Kimani, the deputy director of KWS, who added: “This equipment and training for rangers will greatly support the conservation of rhinos, which presently face a huge threat from poachers, who are after their horns. Last year, we lost 59 rhinos to poachers; and 26 rhinos so far this year. This challenge is surmountable with this kind of support from Kenya Airways and the Born Free Foundation”.

Kenya Airways help relocate rescued lion Simba to Malawi

We would like to extend a big thank you to Kenya Airways for their help with the recent re-location of Simba, our rescued lion, from Amsterdam to our Lilongwe Wildlife Centre in Malawi.

Kenya Airways facilitated the airlifting of Simba as live cargo through KQ Cargo, part of Simba’s 4,900 mile journey, culminating in the uniting of Simba with Bella, a lioness that was rescued by Born Free and also transported by Kenya Airways from a Romanian zoo back in 2009.

Speaking during a brief transit ceremony for Simba and the party accompanying him at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Titus Naikuni noted, “The initiative is part of the airline’s partnership with the Born Free Foundation towards supporting wildlife conservation by rescuing endangered animals and restoring them to their natural habitats”.

“Wildlife is our heritage, and its conservation and protection is the responsibility of all of us. Therefore, I find this an amazing example of how we can connect across the globe to protect endangered wildlife for their return and long-term survival in their natural habitats,” Dr Naikuni added.

Simba left Amsterdam on 20th February 2014 aboard Kenya Airways KQ117 and arrived at JKIA on 21st February 2014.  The lion was then transferred to flight KQ722 to Lilongwe to proceed to the sanctuary in Malawi.

Speaking from Amsterdam, Katrina Hanson, Area Cargo Manager, Europe & N America Kenya Airways, said, “We are thrilled that Simba arrived in Malawi safe and well. The logistics for transporting a lion from Amsterdam to Malawi, with an aircraft change in Nairobi, is not your normal day to day activity and I would personally like to thank all our team at Kenya Airways for making this journey for Simba seamless, prompt and as smooth as possible. This was a team effort from all and I feel immensely proud on behalf of Kenya Airways for being involved with the Born Free Foundation, in bringing Simba home to Africa.”

Kenya Airways Launch 'Change Brings Change' Initiative

On Monday 4th November 2013 Kenya Airways launched their new ‘Change Brings Change’ initiative with Born Free at the World Travel Market in London’s ExCeL Centre. Kenya Airways intend to raise over £45,000 every month (over £540,000 annually) for Born Free through in-flight collections, based on current passenger traffic handled by the airline, with funds being channelled towards our conservation projects in Kenya and throughout Africa.

Kenya Airways and Born Free Working Together

Wildlife remains one of Kenya’s greatest natural assets. Attracting tourists in droves, the country’s rich plant and animal life has earned Kenya billions of shillings in revenue, besides a top spot as one of the most irresistible tourist destinations in the world. 

The tourism sector, which is founded on Kenya's natural wildlife endowment, contributes significantly to the country’s economy. In 2011, Kenya’s revenues from this sector alone stood at KSh98 billion (over a billion US dollars). This is a significant contribution in a country that raised KSh707.6 billion in taxes in the 2011/12 financial year.

The multiplier effect of the economic benefits of Kenya’s wildlife is huge, sustaining many hundreds of thousands of livelihoods, both directly and indirectly.

Thus, any threat to wildlife is an issue that cries out for the attention not only of the Kenyan people for whom it is an intrinsic aspect of their national heritage, but also the global community. The recent spike in wildlife poaching across the country, and which is believed to be driven by organized crime syndicates requires immediate action.

Over the last two years, poaching has accounted for at least half of the elephant deaths in Kenya. According to statistics from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), about 240 elephants died at the hands of poachers in 2011. By the end of 2012 the annual total had risen to nearer 400. Compared to losses in other countries which run into thousands each year it is clear that Kenyan’s are fighting hard to protect their wildlife but the trend is evident.

While the total number of rhinos killed is small in comparison to elephants, the number of wild rhino in Kenya is much smaller with 600 black rhino and 365 white. The KWS figures indicate that 29 out of the 42 rhinos that died in 2011 were illegally killed. In 2012, thanks to even greater wildlife protection measures, of the 27 rhinos that died 19 were a result of poaching.
Across Africa, armed and increasingly sophisticated poachers present one of the most serious challenges to wildlife conservation today. They can also contribute to other forms of crime and local insecurity. Coupled with the effects of climate change, the fragmentation of wildlife habitat and increasing cases of human-wildlife conflict as a result of increasing human populations, this has made wildlife conservation a lot harder. 

Recent trends indicate that not only have the number of poaching incidents gone up, aided by the proliferation of illegal firearms, the level of sophistication and technology deployed has also increased.

Thankfully, in Kenya at least, anti-poaching technologies have also advanced.  Night vision equipment, hi-tec communications, air support and the deployment of tracker dogs means that poachers are finding it hard to stay one step ahead of the forces of law and order.  Future anti-poaching opportunities may include the deployment of unmanned drones equipped with super-sensitive cameras. Another is virtually invisible, inexpensive, next-generation electronic animal tags that send text messages with critical information to rapid response ranger units.

But no wildlife law enforcement agency can overcome the challenges on its own.  Now is the time for concerted efforts from each one of us if this barbaric crime is to be eliminated, our heritage safeguarded for the good of wildlife and the immense benefits it can deliver to be secured.

For starters, there is need for the introduction of wildlife studies and environmental protection in our formal education to inculcate an appreciation of the importance of wildlife by young Kenyans and students around the world. By arming school children from an early age with information on the critical roles that wildlife plays to our economy and natural processes we can help to ensure that they appreciate the need for conservation as they grow up and become our future leaders.

Our laws and institutions need to be strengthened so that they are in a position to support the life-saving activities of the rangers and wardens who lay their lives on the line in the cause of conservation. This includes the Wildlife Bill that intends to introduce, among other things, stringent penalties for wildlife-related offences that will serve as a deterrent to those tempted to illegally abuse and exploit wildlife for personal gain. The government should fast track the enactment of such progressive laws.

However, the task of conserving wildlife is not just the responsibility of KWS which is the government agency tasked with the responsibility of conserving and managing wildlife, nor can it be the responsibility of the citizens alone.

It is in recognition of the collective nature of this responsibility for protecting and conserving wildlife that national carrier Kenya Airways, the Pride of Africa, recently entered into a partnership with the Born Free Foundation to raise funds for the conservation of wildlife in Kenya, and across Africa, wherever wild animals are threatened.

Through this initiative, Kenya Airways intend to have inflight collections on all their aircraft, so that their customers can make donations towards effective wildlife protection. These funds, which can be donated in any currency and in any denomination, will then be channeled towards priority initiatives to conserve and protect wildlife. This is the kind of boost that KWS and other conservation organizations need to protect and conserve our extraordinary wildlife.

It is the responsibility of each one of us to contribute towards fighting poaching and other illegal activities that threaten our wildlife.

Virginia McKenna talks about her travel experiences with Kenya Airways

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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