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  • George and Joy Adamson with Elsa
  • Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna with Elsa the lioness in the movie Born Free 1966
  • A Pride of lions
  • Virginia McKenna with Elsa on the set of the Born Free Movie

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Born Free Foundation Logo BORN FREE FOUNDATION

The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering.

The charity believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos. They rescue vulnerable animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care. Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles and many other animals in their natural habitat, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict.

Their high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers and get results as they battle the ivory trade, stop exploitation, fight killing animals for ‘bushmeat’, oppose hunting wild animals for ‘sport’, and more.

Find out more at www.bornfree.org.uk


In 1960, a book written about the true story of Joy and George Adamson hand-raising an orphaned lion cub named Elsa and then releasing her back into the wild became a worldwide bestseller. Born Free was the catalyst that essentially changed the way we perceive relationships between humans and animals.

Because of the emotional bond George and Joy Adamson formed with Elsa, lions could no longer be dismissed simply as brutal killers to be shot while on safari. The story revealed the true behaviour and personality of the animals which had never been seen before. Elsa became an individual in the eyes of the world, and her story made her a symbol for all animals’ right to live free.

Born Free starring Viginia Mckenna and Bill Travers

Above: A couple of the original posters from the Born Free Movie (1966) starring Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers

Hollywood took the story to the next level with the 1966 release of the film based on the book. Starring real-life husband and wife Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna as George and Joy Adamson, it became an award winning box office hit, and turned Travers and McKenna into wildlife activists in the process.