OUR TOP 5 CONSERVATIONISTS

 

In a world full of reality stars and social media influencers. This weeks blog post is to pay homage to the people who have devoted their lives to animal conservation and whom are a true inspiration not just for us, but for millions of people. Through their tireless campaigning and work throughout the years they have helped shape and improve animal conservation to what it is today for a brighter future. And here we have it, our very favourite conservationists....

 

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FATHER OF LIONS. GEORGE ADAMSON

We couldn't write about our favourite conservationists and not put in the great "Father of Lions" himself - George Adamson. His work has and will always inspire us to do what we do, even years after his death. 

George, a British wildlife conservationist and author. George was born 3 February 1906 in Etawah, India to British parents. He moved to Kenya in 1925. After a series of jobs, which included time as a gold prospector, goat trader and professional safari hunter, he joined Kenya's game department in 1938 and was Senior Wildlife Warden of the Northern Frontier District. During his time as a professional safari hunter his feelings changed from efficiently hunting wild animals to feeling connected with them and continuously studying their behavior. Six years later, he married his wife Joy. It was in 1956 that he raised captive lioness cub, Elsa, whom he helped to release into the wild and who became the subject of the 1966 feature film Born Free based on the book written by Joy.

Adamson retired as a wildlife warden in 1961 and devoted himself to raising lions who could not look after themselves and training them to survive in the wild. In 1970, he moved to the Kora National Reserve in northern Kenya to continue the rehabilitation of captive or orphaned big cats for eventual reintroduction into the wild. George recognised an animals capacities, including its trust and affection and regarded it as an equal. He wanted to save each one, as an individual, from unnecessary captivity, suffering or death. He knew that they constituted no threat to the human race. In fact the human race constitutes a serious threat to all animals and even our planet earth. Sadly on August 20, 1989 George Adamson was murdered in Kenya. He is buried in the Kora National Park near to his brother Terrance, Super Cub and his beloved lion friend Boy.

"Most of us look at an animal, prejudiced by our ignorance of it and convinced that because it lacks a language like ours, and therefor a culture, it is our inferior. Most of us are only concerned for its survival its whole species is endangered"

 

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DAVID MACDONALD

One of our all time favourite Conservationists whom we've had the pleasure in helping. Here is just a fragment of what David has achieved in his career.

DAVID MACDONALD CBE is a Scottish zoologist and conservationist. David is the Director of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) at the University of Oxford, which he founded in 1986. 

David, the Oxford University’s first professor of Wildlife Conservation, is more recently known for WildCRU's study lions - Xander and Cecil, in Hwange National Park, Kenya. Both lions were illegally hunted with colossal national press of the incident following. Fast forward to the year anniversary of Cecil's death, David created the Cecil Summit. For the ‘Cecil moment’ to become the ‘Cecil movement’, a brainstorming think tank discussion of lion conservation discussing of subjects such as: Restoring Lionscapes, Inspiring National Communities, Inspiring a Global Community and Fairness and the International Financing of Lion Conservation. 

David is also chair for Action for Conservation Foundation, where they believe all young people should feel moved and empowered to protect the natural world. Their workshops connect students with opportunities to take action. They agree on four values that would define their approach to creating the next generation of conservationists: Wonder, Hope, Action and Change.

 

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DAME DAPHNE SHELDRICK

What Daphne has achieved for animals, especially orphaned elephants is remarkable. Her work is tireless and nothing but being truly inspirational. 

Daphne Jenkins was born and raised in Kenya. Growing up, Daphne opted for marriage over University. She worked alongside her husband David Sheldrick as a co-warden of Tsavo National Park, Kenya. 

During that time she raised and rehabilitated back into the wild community orphans of misfortune from many different wild species, including elephants, black rhinos, buffalo, zebras, elands, kudus, impalas, duikers, reedbuck, dikdiks, warthogs, civets, mongooses and birds. She is the first person to have perfected the milk formula for both infant milk-dependent elephants and rhinos. After her husband's death in 1977, Daphne Sheldrick created The David Sheldrick Trust (DSWT) in Nairobi, Kenya. The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage today operates the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has successfully rescued over 180 orphaned elephants and reintegrated over 90 back into the wild.

 

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DAME JANE GOODALL 

You can't read about wild animals and not hear the words "Jane Goodall". Here is why Jane made it into our top 5. 

Dame Jane Morris Goodall is a British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist and UN Messenger of Peace. Considered to be the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for over 55-years study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees. 

Whilst Goodall studied chimpanzee social and family life in Tanzia, Goodall observed things that strict scientific doctrines may have overlooked. Instead of numbering the chimpanzees she observed, she gave them names, and observed them to have unique and individual personalities. Setting herself apart from other researchers also led her to develop a close bond with the chimpanzees and to become, to this day, the only human ever accepted into chimpanzee society. She found that, "it isn't only human beings who have personality, who are capable of rational thought, emotions like joy and sorrow." She also observed behaviours such as hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and even tickling, what we consider "human" actions. 

In 1977, Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI). She is a global leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. With nineteen offices around the world, the JGI is widely recognised for community-centred conservation and development programs in Africa. Its global youth program, Roots & Shoots began in 1991. The organisation now has over 10,000 groups in over 100 countries.

When asked if she believed in God, Goodall said: "I don't have any idea of who or what God is. But I do believe in some great spiritual power. I feel it particularly when I'm out in nature. It's just something that's bigger and stronger than what I am or what anybody is. I feel it. And it's enough for me.” 
 
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VIRGINIA MCKENNA 

Passion, dedication and devotion towards not only wild animals, but all animals. One of our true inspirations to start BornWild. Here's just a little bit about her...

Virginia McKenna OBE. Following a successful career as a famous actress on stage and screen, her career took a life changing turn after she performed in the iconic film "Born Free" in 1966 based on the story of a real-life couple - Joy and George Adamson, who raised Elsa the Lioness, an orphaned lion cub, to adulthood, and released her into the wilderness of Kenya. Throughout the making of this film Virginia and her Husband Bill created a bond with the trained lions and lionesses and learnt that they would be returned back to a life of captivity after the filming had finished. With such passion and devotion for the animals and sadness of their future - Virginia and her Husband put aside their acting careers and started the Zoo Check Campaign in 1984. Zoo check later registered as the Born Free Foundation.

The Born Free Foundation has grown into a global force for wildlife. Their work is to prevent individual animal suffering, protect threatened species and keep wildlife in the wild. Whilst Virginia still finds time to work occasionally as an actress, her leading role now is within the conservation and animal welfare movement. Virginia also travels extensively visiting zoos about which the Born Free Foundation has received complaints and, wherever possible, she accompanies rescued Big Cats to Born Free’s sanctuaries in India and South Africa. 

“I cling to the beauty and strength of nature and all wild creatures with a passion born of certainty that only through them can i retain my perspective about life and my own part in it.”

We are currently taking suggestions of which animals to donate to next. Please visit our ANIMALS WE HELP page to see who we've supported. If you'd like to make suggestions then email us at: bornwild@bornwild.rocks