Born Free USA Blog
by Will Travers,
Chief Executive Officer
What can you say about a big-hearted bloke who has rescued dolphins, tigers, elephants and more and whose parents once helped a lion cub from a department store by caring for him in their backyard and engineering his rightful return to Africa? You can safely say that he's got great animal instincts! In 1984, Will Travers joined his parents — "Born Free" film stars Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers — to form what became The Born Free Foundation. With knowledge, passion and compassion dripping from his every word, Will's blogs are sure to make you embrace our crusade to Keep Wildlife in the Wild ®.
Dear Friends of Wildlife:
Trust me: 9,000 words is a huge article but somehow even the efforts of one of our greatest wordsmiths, Alex Shoumatoff, writing in Vanity Fair (August 2011 edition), could not entirely capture the enormity of the plight faced by elephants across Africa and Asia. But he did a damn fine job, supported by a wonderful portfolio of both heart-warming and distressing images taken by acclaimed photographer Guillaume Bonn.
Inspiring: Three years ago, a happenstance encounter at the wedding of a mutual friend allowed me to meet Tiger Darrow, a talented young singer/songwriter from Dallas who will, I firmly believe, have the music world on its knees quite soon. After that meeting, Tiger was inspired to write a single, “Beautiful Release,” that is available for download on iTunes. She gives all proceeds from that song to Born Free.
Last month, Elson a captive African lion died during a dental procedure at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was 16 years old and had been at the zoo since about 1996. The local newspaper, the Gazette, ran a story about the death and prompted sentimental online comments such as this one:
Lights, cameras, roll out the compassion! On May 17, the West Hollywood City Council unanimously voted to become the nation’s first city to ban the sale of fur apparel. This is big news for fur-bearing animals and for the millions of people who know in their hearts and minds that “fur fashion” is a cruel fraud.
Fundraising for our charitable mission — to Keep Wildlife in the Wild — is not easy. These remain challenging economic times as we emerge from global recession, and there are surely many organizations soliciting support from compassionate Americans. But if we don’t raise money, we can’t save animals. We can’t fulfill our mission, our vision, of a more compassionate America.
Every now and then, a hit movie has a positive message about animals that has the potential to resonate with the general public and inspire millions of people to adopt a gentler, more compassionate approach toward all creatures. “Rio” is such a film.
This May sees the release of the film adaptation of the best-selling novel "Water for Elephants," starring Robert Pattinson and Reece Witherspoon. While we acknowledge that the film touches on cruelty toward animals in circuses, we are extremely disappointed that the producers did not take the book’s core message to heart and make the compassionate decision not to use trained wild animals in the film.
Last week, my friend and colleague, Ofir Driori of the Last Great Ape Organization, received the Future for Nature award in The Netherlands for his outstanding efforts in protecting wild animals .