Sad goodbye to a wildlife champion


James Young: 1955-2020


A close friend of Born Free has just passed away. James Young died suddenly while working for the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Hargeisa, Somaliland. 

An Englishman with a background in design and marketing, he was drawn to the Horn of Africa by his interest in wildlife, and after working in the remote south west corner of Ethiopia for a little while, he joined Born Free as our Country Representative in Addis Ababa between 2007-2010. 

Professor Claudio Sillero, Born Free’s Chief Scientist, said: “James helped Born Free set up Ensessa Kotteh Wildlife Rescue Centre from its onset, building a strong partnership with the late President Girma Woldegiorgis of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority that led to a land agreement for the 77 hectares on which the centre is built. His enthusiasm, resilience and communication skills were instrumental in the early years of this ambitious project, epitomised by the massive attendance at the centre’s Presidential inauguration, which he masterminded. 

“He remained instrumental in big cat conservation and rescue, and recently assisted Born Free by securing the transfer of a lion cub from Somaliland to Ensessa Kotteh. 

“James was a friend to many of us, had boundless energy, and was very generous to those around him. The wilderness and wild animals of the Horn of Africa have lost one of their champions.”