Honouring international women’s day

8 March 2022


In our Year of the Lion, we are delighted to highlight some phenomenal Born Free women who work with lions.

A lion lying on the floor with some material over it's face whilst a women attaches a radio colour, there are two men beside her helping and a Land Rover in the distance.

Born Free is proud to work with a wide range of dedicated and talented women across the globe and, to celebrate International Women’s Day, we highlight a few of the outstanding individuals who are especially devoted to lions. 

Wildlife ecologist Dr Caroline Ng’weno – seen here radio collaring a wild lion to track their behaviour – heads our Pride of Meru team in Kenya, launched in 2016 and already having a positive impact on lion conservation. “My passion is to understand how effective large carnivore conservation can be achieved in modern-day Africa through the championing of human-wildlife coexistence. 

“Meru is special – a beautiful and exciting place. Relying on evidence-based, cutting-edge research, we work side by side with Kenya Wildlife Service and other stakeholders across the Meru Conservation Area to foster harmonious coexistence between people who live here and wildlife. The key is to keep tourism, the community and conservation in a constructive and positively enhanced balance. 

“When you think of lions, does the word ‘vulnerable’ come to mind? Born Free is shining a spotlight on the need for action to ensure their survival. But to do this we need your help. Please support our conservation work and help expand our ongoing efforts in Meru by adopting our Elsa’s Pride of lions.”

Meanwhile in South Africa, our manager Catherine Gillson oversees the care of 15 rescued lions at our sanctuary in Shamwari. “After finally getting our Lions of Lockdown safely to their forever home with us – including long hours of preparation – we can focus on helping them adapt under the watchful eye of our wonderful care team

“For me, the word ‘resilience’ comes to mind as a theme this year. The resilience of these lions, having to adapt and being brave enough to trust and carry on. We can learn from these incredible animals as we find ourselves with similar challenges in an unprecedented time. Our Lions of Lockdown have very different temperaments, all complimenting each other. Bellone and Angela are gentler in character, while Saida is feistier and more protective, with all three looking after Louga, the male in their ‘pride’. 

“To work with these big cats and get to know their personalities is a privilege that is bittersweet. I wish they had all had the life of freedom a wild animal should be born into but, as human nature is, I love that they have given me a deeper understanding that all creatures are individuals and should be protected in the wild as such.”

Not forgetting the ‘Mother of Lions’, our inspirational Co-Founder Virginia McKenna OBE. There is still time to book your ticket to join Virginia at our online Anniversary Event on Thursday 24th March 2022 at 7pm. So, if you know some remarkable, lionhearted women, why not invite them to join you? Our evening of stories, poetry, film and music is perfect for everyone who loves lions and would be a wonderful way to commemorate this International Women’s Day!