Terra Conservation Initiative is proud to support Born Free USA in their efforts to end the exploitation of wild animals. Born Free President Will Travers and Programs Director and Sanctuary Manager Dr. Liz Tyson teamed up as guest bloggers on Terra Stories this week, to discuss their mission and the most needed sustainable technologies they’re working with Terra to deploy.

Will: It all started back in the 1960’s when my mother and father, Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, were the actress and actor who played Joy and George Adamson in the film Born Free.  That’s when, as a family, we got ‘infected’……. by the wildlife ’bug’.  It is incurable, thank goodness.

Fast forward to today, and the Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA, are both engaged in a wide range of activities aimed at protecting individual wild animals, wild species, their natural habitats and working with the communities that share that environment.

Whether it’s conserving wild lions in Northern Kenya; rescuing cheetah from the illegal live pet trade in Ethiopia; fighting the ravages of the ongoing ivory trade; supporting orangutan conservation in Borneo; building the capacity of wildlife law enforcement agencies and customs officials in West Africa; fighting to end the cruel trapping of wildlife (and the occasional companion animal!) on US National Wildlife Refuges; helping our friends at the Orphan Bear Rescue Centre in Russia who care for and return the bears to the wild; or championing the urgent need for massive investment in nature to defend what is left against the impact of an ever-growing and rapacious human population, there is no excuse.  We cannot give up; and in the US, alongside our fur campaign, our trapping campaign, our conservation work, we are proud to host the biggest and, some say, the best Primate Sanctuary in the country.  Over to Liz Tyson, our Programs Director and Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary Manager.


Liz: “One of our major projects in the United States is the Born Free US Primate Sanctuary. The 175-acre site in South Texas is the largest Primate Sanctuary in the nation and is home to over 450 monkeys, many of whom have been rescued from the pet trade, from laboratories, or from roadside zoos. Our expert team works 365 days a year to provide the highest standard of lifelong care for our residents; often beginning work before the sun rises and, in the hot Texas summers, working outdoors in triple-digit temperatures. We are proud to have achieved accreditation from the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), which marks the Sanctuary as one of the best in the world.

At the Sanctuary, we provide a home to baboons like Marlin, Violet and Presley, who were rescued from an awful roadside zoo which was closed following a long legal battle. The three came to us in March of 2020, having lived their entire lives in squalid conditions without proper nutrition or care. They now roam around their huge one-acre natural enclosure where they can run, play, groom and forage to their hearts’ content. These are just three among hundreds whose lives have turned around under Born Free’s care. But the Sanctuary needs support.

The large site requires a number of robust vehicles in order for the team to carry out their work effectively and safely. All of the vehicles that the Sanctuary currently has at its disposal have been painstakingly kept running for many years beyond their expected lifespan and are now in dire need of replacement. Of the five vehicles required, the Sanctuary can currently count on only three, and these are unlikely to last more than 12 months before becoming unsafe to use.  The Sanctuary hopes to be able to move to fully electric vehicles from Terra in the near future if fundraising efforts are successful.

In addition to new vehicles, Born Free has been working with Terra on a proposal to install modular farms so that we can grow our own food for the monkeys. As you can probably imagine, feeding over 450 primates is one of our largest expenses. We only feed our residents the highest quality produce and so are excited at the prospect of being able to provide the freshest of food to them grown onsite. Like the new vehicles, establishing the farms is dependent on successful fundraising, which you can help us with.

Will: None of the above, nor Liz and her team’s extraordinary work on behalf of all those animals, can happen without help and, even in these uncertain times, when we are confronted by so many priorities, I believe it is vitally important that we make room in our hearts for the non-human species of this planet over whom we have the power of life and death.

So, if you read this and you are moved by what we do at Born Free, wherever we operate, then might you consider a tax-exempt donation to Born Free’s work, in association with Terra Conservation Initiative?  I would be enormously appreciative.  It really does matter.

And I would not want to miss the opportunity of thanking Tony and Ann, and everyone at Terra Conservation Initiative for their help and support.  We could not do it without you.

Will and Liz