In honour of what would have been the 100th Birthday of Bill Travers MBE, Born Free are celebrating their co-founder’s life and work by designating 2022 as Born Free’s Year of the Lion. The launch kicks off in grand style with a UK-wide exhibition featuring twenty stunning life-size, bronze lion sculptures to raise awareness and vital funds for the charity he founded. 


We're excited to annouce that our Lion pride will be launching at Millennium Green, Waterloo in London on 8th January 2022! 

We've joined forces with the world’s favourite monumental artists Gillie and Marc to create BORN FREE FOREVER, a landmark installation to raise awareness and vital funds for our lion conservation work.

Born Free Forever, the largest lion sculpture in the world will be taking up residence at locations around the UK, and is a celebration of Elsa the lioness – our charity’s original inspiration and a potent symbol of hope. Elsa was successfully returned to the wild by George and Joy Adamson in 1958, where she went on to have cubs of her own. The stunning bronze centre piece features Elsa standing on top of a vintage 4x4 surrounded by cubs, capturing the essence of the iconic classic 1966 film Born Free, starring our charity’s Co-Founders Virginia McKenna OBE and Bill Travers MBE, telling Elsa’s true story.

The major new installation will feature five lifesize lions, and twenty cubs cast in bronze, set in prominent locations in the UK's major cities. Each lion tells their own story and has a special affinity with Born Free. From Christian, the cub purchased from Harrods and successfully returned to the wild, to Makena, the Kenyan lioness living in the Born Free-protected Meru National Park, now with cubs of her own, she is a symbol of hope for wild lions.


Back in the 1960s, there were an estimated 200,000 lions in the wild, but today as few as 20,000 remain, a terrifying 90% decline in just 55 years. Africa without lions? Extinction a real possibility? We can’t let this happen! With you by our side, Born Free is determined to ensure a long-term future for lions and this unique artwork will play a vital role. 

It takes strength and courage to fight extinction and we need YOUR help to take up that call. You are invited to join us in London, take your photo with the bronze artwork, share your unique picture with the hashtag #LoveTheLast and jump-start efforts to support lion conservation. A QR code by each lion will transport visitors to a dedicated area of the Born Free website and every single pound we raise will fund our battle to keep these ultimate predators safe in the wild and fight their captive exploitation.

There is much we have to do to protect wild lions, to resolve conflict with local people and to stop the slaughter of trophy hunting. But, with your help, Born Free is on the frontline, taking action to save the African lion. So jump on board, and come on safari to London today! 

A lioness and her young cub lying in the long grass, nuzzling, with sunset behind them.


“The bronze cubs symbolise the future generations of lions that can be created with hard work, dedication and a lot of love. The lion is a big part of our national identity and personifies the qualities of what it is to be British: strength, courage and pride. If wild lions were to go extinct, we would lose a part of ourselves.”
Artists, Gillie and Marc


“We are all so inspired by Gillie and Marc’s creative vision and passion for lions. Their glorious work is a show-stopper, a genuine world-first and we’d love everyone who loves lions to get involved. A global force for wildlife, Born Free is all about freedom. Of all species, wild lions and all they represent are the living symbols of our charity. Through these extraordinary sculptures, the Spirit of Elsa lives on and burns brighter than ever.”
Born Free's Executive President Will Travers OBE

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