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 ®.
“It’s obviously very unfortunate.”
That’s what the man in charge said after two cheetahs in his South African reserve attacked a visitor for three minutes, leaving her with multiple lacerations on her head, stomach and legs, and the loss of “a lot of blood.” The victim, a Scottish woman who was celebrating turning 60, had been petting the animals, who had been billed as hand-reared and tame.
Her injuries were not life-threatening.
How “very unfortunate” that the thoroughly exploited animals had the audacity to act so unpredictably! The woman actually is lucky to be alive, and for the park manager to suggest that the attack was a mysterious surprise is disingenuous, at best. Having people pet anything other than a domesticated species is asking for trouble. Cheetahs are not candidates for domestication, by any warped stretch of the imagination.
I understand the desire to be close to animals — even wild ones. They are amazing and breathtaking. But we need a healthy for respect for them as individuals and as wild animals! My colleague Adam Roberts just helped deliver four rescued cheetah cubs to our sanctuary in Ethiopia — from a crate in the Land Rover to their initial protective enclosure. At no point did he come in contact with them.
Admire them. Respect them. Protect them. And for heaven’s sake, view them from a safe distance!