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 ®.
On Sunday evening, the PBS show “Nature” will be present “Elsa’s Legacy: The Born Free Story.”
It really is a "don’t miss" as it contains some amazing and wonderful footage from this remarkable story and (I have to admit bias here) my dear mother and late father.
As 2011 dawns everyone at Born Free USA is fully energized for a new year of helping the animals in need. Although 2010 was busy, exciting and challenging, we will not rest on our laurels. Not now, not ever.
One of our four top priorities at Born Free USA is to protect wildlife in their natural habitats. We recognize that nature is an extraordinarily intricate web of connections among plants and animals, and that humans — especially starting with the Industrial Revolution — disturb that balance all too often.
Usually I blog about wild animals and what can, or should, be done to protect them. Today I’d like to write about a person who has done such a lot to protect animals for a very long time: sensational British actress Joanna Lumley. She and my mother, Virginia McKenna, are close friends.
Imagine a zoo where monkeys are poked at by visitors as idle guards shrug their shoulders. Where the lone bear eats an empty cigarette pack, as the zoo’s other starving animals also waste away. Where the main “attraction,” a lion, loses an eye in a grenade attack. Where two elephants and a zebra are killed in crossfire between soldiers fighting a civil war. Where a mortar round destroys the entire parrot exhibit.
You would think zoos are all about locking animals up. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? If only they could be free … but wait a minute!
You all know the details because the Born Free USA team has shared them with you before: Bears are forced to perform in circuses; they are forced to live behind zoo bars; they are enticed with bait and shot like “sitting ducks”; they are chased with dogs to make the kill easier for the hunter; they are poached in the wild for their gallbladders and paws; and they are crammed into tiny cages in Asia to be milked for their bile.
So now it’s not enough to see elephants in small, unnatural enclosures: A handful of zoos, including the Orange County Zoo in Southern California, want to offer elephant rides!