Meru National Park, in Kenya, was the home of Elsa, the lioness made famous by the book Born Free by Joy Adamson and by the film of the same name – a wildlife classic starring our Co-Founders Virginia McKenna OBE and Bill Travers MBE. Elsa is the inspiration for our charity.
In Elsa’s time – and when Born Free was filmed – Meru was famous for its abundant wildlife and even rivalled the famous Masai Mara. However, in the 1980s Meru was overrun by poachers and its wildlife was decimated.
But, today, Meru is fighting back. Designated a stronghold for lion conservation, Born Free has been working closely with Kenya Wildlife Service since 2014 to bring Meru back to its former glory. There is now a stable population of between 60-80 lions living within the national park, as well as a whole host of other wildlife.
With your help, we want to not only continue our work, but expand it so that Elsa’s legacy is guaranteed for many years to come.
With your generous gift, we can increase our lion protection, monitoring and population tracking, expand our lion conservation work across Meru Conservation Area, and rekindle the entire ecosystem so that other species can flourish.
With your help, we can provide a future for wild lions throughout this vital part of their Kenyan range.
Born Free has been working in Meru National Park since 2014.
Our Pride of Meru project safeguards the lion population there by monitoring, tracking and surveying the individual lions, their prides and other wild animal populations.
We also work with local communities and schools bordering Meru to educate people on the importance of wildlife conservation, thereby encouraging co-existence.
Our Kenyan field team in Meru National Park has been tracking six prides of lions for three years. One of these is Elsa’s Pride.
Named in Elsa’s memory and supported by Born Free adopters, the pride is one of the oldest lion families in Meru.
At its head is Solio, a dominant lion who has recently taken over from dark-maned Mfalme. Solio’s pride consists of three adult females called Makena, Liz and Elsa, as well as their many cubs.
Our team follows the pride to gain a deeper understanding of the individuals and the family structure, its relationship with other lions living in Meru, and to alert the authorities and the communities of the possibility of any conflict with people.