Remembering elsa: 60 years on


By Virginia McKenna OBE

It is hard to believe that it was 60 years ago when Elsa, the lioness, died. For me, and perhaps for many others who have never forgotten her story, it seems like yesterday.

She had, indeed, been “a lioness of two worlds”; raised, as an orphan, by George and Joy Adamson; and released as an adult into the wild in Meru game reserve in Kenya – where she tragically died young and is buried. Her unique and close relationship with George and Joy never faded – and she died in his arms.

I have always felt that this unique story, told by Joy in several books, and later in the film Born Free, is why so many people hold lions in such respect. Understanding that they are individuals, as we are – with memories, feelings and loyalties.

The Born Free charity, formerly Zoo Check, is 37 years old this year. The name sums up the soul and purpose of our work, which is even stronger today than when it started, all those years ago. And it is how it will always remain – in Elsa’s memory.

Adopt a lion today and help us keep these animals in the wild where they belong.