Magazine article Geographical

Foreword

Magazine article Geographical

Foreword

Article excerpt

Over 50 years ago, when my husband Bill and I, together with our young family, left for Kenya to play the roles of George and Joy Adamson in the film Born Free, we knew we were embarking on a great adventure. Kenya, a recently-independent nation, was an intoxicating new world, full of warm-hearted people, incredible scenery and wildlife that we'd only read about in books. The enormous skies seemed to go on forever. I thought I was in heaven.

Filming Born Free turned out to be even more amazing than we had anticipated. Not only were we telling a wonderful story, full of hope, and triumph over adversity, but working each day with George Adamson, retelling Joy's unique story for the big screen, changed our lives forever.

In 1984, together with our eldest son, Will, we founded the organisation that would become The Born Free Foundation. Since then it has been our passion and our attempt to translate all that we learned about wild animals while making the film into reality, and into an agenda of hope.

2016 is Born Free's Year of the Lion. I had hoped it would be a year when we would be able to celebrate a secure future for lions and other species. Sadly, there will be no such celebrations.

Despite the extraordinary efforts of many individuals, lions, one of the world's most iconic species, are in trouble, serious trouble. Their plight was thrust into the global spotlight by the brutal, bloody and senseless slaying of Cecil whose death last year ignited public outrage around the world.

But not every lion is called Cecil. Not every lion is known, studied and admired. Every year thousands of nameless wild lions suffer and die in silence, their passing unremarked and unrecorded. Thousands more are slaughtered in 'canned hunting' facilities, a practise laid bare in the film Blood Lions which exposed the despicable killing of captive lions 'bred for the bullet' by those who revel in the business of death

Lion numbers across Africa have declined by nearly 75 per cent since the late 1970s, falling to perhaps 20,000 individuals, and while Kenya remains one of a handful of strongholds, there is a very real and tragic possibility that lions could become extinct in many African countries in a matter of a few years. …

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