Inspired by George Adamson

20 August 2022


Born Free remembers the Father of Lions and, in his memory, encourages donations to our Forever Lions fund. Together let’s keep lions wild and free!

Today is deeply poignant for our charity as we remember Baba ya Simba, the ‘Father of Lions’ George Adamson, who was killed on this day in Kenya, in 1989.  

George played a pivotal role in returning captive lions to the wild and our charity’s cherished Co-Founder, Virginia McKenna OBE, pays tribute to George: “During our ten months in Kenya in 1964, my husband Bill and I became good friends with George, and he taught us about the nature of lions. Essential, as we were there to make a film of Joy Adamson’s book Born Free. Our friendship lasted until his shocking and tragic murder in 1989.

“George was an amazing letter writer and wrote to us from his little camp in Meru, where Elsa the lioness was returned to the wild. Together with George, we had managed to obtain three of the lions used in the film and returned to the wild – Boy, Girl and Ugas.

“This is an extract from one of those letters, written in 1966: ‘I find great happiness living in the bush with Boy, Girl and Ugas and do not feel the urge for higher aspirations. The moon is coming up over the palm trees in a cloudless sky. Boy and Girl are spending the night up in the hill. There’s not a sound to mar the beauty of the night.’ 

“Towards the end of his autobiography, My Pride and Joy, George asks, ‘Who will raise their voices, when mine is carried away on the wind?’ I feel sure he knows. That all of us at Born Free, perhaps especially in this, our Year of the Lion, have been raising our voices for wild places and wild animals for the past 38 years. We will never stop. He is our inspiration.”

In these challenging times, George Adamson’s inspiration shines a light into the darkest corner and restores our faith in humanity. If you would like to donate in his memory, your gift to our Forever Lions fund will:

  • Fight captive exploitation
  • Rescue individuals from lives of suffering & give lifetime care in sanctuaries
  • Protect lions in the wild where they belong, forever

Together we can help keep lions wild and free and honour all George Adamson stood for.

Donate to our forever lions fund