4 October 2022
BORN FREE’S EDUCATION TEAM CELEBRATES WORLD ANIMAL DAY
Born Free’s Head of Education, Laura Gosset rounds-up a day of fun wildlife learning activities from around the world.
This World Animal Day Born Free’s Education Team has been celebrating everything animal. Our teams in Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya and the UK coordinated to create a day full of wildlife learning and fun.
World Animal Day is a celebration of all animals, and in particular a day to pay attention to their health and welfare. As a charity one of Born Free’s core principles is the importance of the individual animal and we have worked, since our inception, to end the exploitation of wild animals.
In Ethiopia, Million and Lemessa worked with their environmental club patrons to enable the dissemination of wildlife related messages across our five local partner schools using mini media systems provided by Born Free earlier this year. These systems, similar to school announcement systems, help our club members to share messages with their peers, gather students for club sessions and help the teachers to undertake general school management more easily.
Messages shared today included facts about lion numbers, their diet and their adaptations, touching on the story of Dolo the lion, rescued from illegal ownership in Ethiopia in 2009, and eventually moved to our rescue centre, Ensessa Kotteh, where he lived until his sad passing in 2019.
Million explained why days like today are so important. “All of us have a responsibility to increase our awareness about wildlife and to be its guardian. To look after them and to pass this message to others.”
Next on to South Africa where Vino and Sidney have been working hard to help our partner schools and their clubs to each put on a rhino exhibition. Each class was assigned a part of the exhibition so that everyone had the chance to be involved.
The exhibition was launched last week and will run until the 10th October. Through art displays, information boards, crafts made from recycled materials and Born Free posters, the exhibition displays included information about the different species of rhino found in South Africa and the main threats they face, such as poaching and habitat loss, as well as touching on the five domains of animal welfare.
Vinourica Ndou, Education Manager, Born Free in South Africa, said: “Not only will this display increase knowledge and understanding through its collaborative creation, but the club members also presented the exhibit to their peers during learning breaks. Increasing their ownership of the event and highlighting the amazing role these pupils have as ambassadors of wildlife.”
“Today was a fantastic way to bring so many of the young people we work with together, maybe not physically but together in learning about and appreciating some of the world’s most iconic species. Helping people to understand and connect with animals on an individual basis is an important step towards helping us Keep Wildlife In The Wild.”
In Kenya, our focus was on giraffe and elephants, two species in need of our attention. Melubo, in Amboseli, worked with our conservation club at Olmapitet Manhae Secondary school to organise a debate, addressing the statement: An ecosystem with elephants is better than an ecosystem without elephants. With a special visit from our new elephant puppet created by our partners at No Strings International.
Our remaining seven partner schools commemorated World Animal Day in songs, poems and messages to their peers. Highlighting the day as a celebration of their wild neighbours.
Further north, just outside Meru National Park, Nicholas worked with members of the Kathithine Primary School Conservation Club to create talks around giraffe. They focused on features, habitat, diet, threats, welfare and general facts, building on their experience of visiting the park and watching giraffe in their natural habitat. These areas were also discussed by our other seven Conservation Clubs around Meru last week to ensure they all had the chance to learn about this magnificent species.
Peace, a grade five conservation club member from Kathithine Primary School said, “I am happy that my schoolmates are now aware that animals need care just like us” and the club patron added “our club members and other pupils have learnt a lot including the celebration of world animal day.”
Born Free’s Education Manager in Kenya, Phoebe, commended the commitment of all our amazing clubs. “We celebrated 2 great giants today. The gentle giraffe and the formidable and charismatic elephant, both now at risk because of our actions. The opportunity for the conservation club members to create awareness to the rest of the school on the plight of these species, who they all coexist with everyday at Kathithine Primary school in Meru and Olmapitet secondary in Amboseli, creates hope of a new generation of conservationists with first-hand experience of coexistence. Showing and sharing their passion despite the challenges of living with giants in their midst”.
Finally, in the UK, we held a webinar for Key Stage 2 and 3 students from around the country, focused on marine animals. With 296 pupils attending from around 8 institutions or home educator groups. Charlie and Eve were joined by Anna Bunney from ORCA, Helena Symonds and Megan Hockin Bennett from OrcaLab, diver and author Jay Vincent and Born Free’s Captivity Research Officer, Chris Lewis.
Together they discussed the amazing apex predators found in our oceans, focusing on orca and sharks, and why these fantastic and important species deserve our protection and respect, living in the wild. Questions from the audience included, Could sharks and orcas become extinct? How many teeth do sharks have? And What can we do to help protect orcas and sharks?
Anna Bunney told us that “the more people we can [collectively] speak to, especially the next generation, the better. Especially when it comes to important issues such as captivity vs animals in the wild and I think it’s really important for people to learn about these apex predators.”
The webinar will be available from the video hub page on our website in the next few days.
In summary, today was a fantastic way to bring so many of the young people we work with together, maybe not physically but together in learning about and appreciating some of the world’s most iconic species. Helping people to understand and connect with animals on an individual basis is an important step towards helping us Keep Wildlife In The Wild.