Wildlife charity’s history portrayed at exhibition in Horsham Museum

Will Travers at Horsham Museum (c) BFF SUS-151208-105619001
Will Travers at Horsham Museum (c) BFF SUS-151208-105619001

An exhibition depicting the 30-year history of the Born Free Foundation is being staged at Horsham Museum throughout the remainder of August.

Offering the opportunity to find out more about the internationally recognised wildlife organisation, the display at the museum in the Causeway will be available to view until Monday August 31.

President of the Horsham-based charity, Will Travers OBE, visited the museum on Tuesday August 11 to launch the exhibition.

He said: “This display is a snapshot of what we’ve been doing now for over 30 years.

“It’s the Born Free story from the early days, right through to our current campaigns.”

The exhibition features original film memorabilia and posters from the film ‘Born Free’ which inspired actors Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, and their son Will, to start the organisation which has since saved the lives of thousands of animals.

By running the exhibition, the foundation aim to raise awareness and bring local people together to become a part of the Born Free family.

Will said: “Millions of pounds is spent searching space for intelligent life, but there’s intelligent life right here and we’re wiping it out.

“We need to pay far greater attention to what’s going on, on our doorstep, rather than withstanding our insatiable curiosity to find out if there’s somewhere else we can trash out there in the universe.”

The charity works internationally improving individual animal welfare as well as protecting threatened species and tackling social issues, such as animals in captivity.

More recently, following the recent killing of Cecil the lion, the charity is pushing for lion trophy hunting to be abolished all together.

Will said: “Somewhere in the mix of the many challenges that we face in the world, there has to be room for our natural world, otherwise we end up being an anthropocentric species that only cares about ourselves.”

Will added that the global outcry following Cecil’s death has made people ask questions about the future of the lion population.

He added: “People look around for a reliable source of information, so they’ve turned to Born Free and asked us what we are doing.

“We’re working with local communities in Kenya and other parts of Africa to build nighttime shelters for livestock, to increase their safety.

“It was a general shock that such an illegal act could be done, robbing the world of a famous animal that would have delivered significant financial resources, through non lethal tourism, to Zimbabwe.”

Across Africa and the Far East, the populations of much-loved species are also rapidly decreasing as a result of poaching and habitat destruction.

Visitors to the exhibition have the opportunity to find out more about this as well as some of Born Free’s most dramatic animal rescues.

Will continued: “In 2007 only 13 rhinos were poached in South Africa, and last year the figure rose to 1115 as a result of demand from the Far East.

“Just because we can do something, does not mean we should, and we have to get our head around the concept.

“We can wipe all life off the face of the planet, including our own, but that doesn’t mean we should.”

The exhibition is running throughout August alongside the Elephantastic campaign.

Elephantastic involves town centre trails, bringing local people together to address the challenging issue of what is happening to elephants in various parts of the world.

Horsham Museum is also the location of the Born Free Foundation’s own Elephantastic elephant – named Tahadhari– who is also on display at the museum until 31 August.

Will added: “It’s a fantastic way of bringing the community together in a way that is non-controversial, and so many organisations will benefit from it.”

A selection of Born Free merchandise is also available at the exhibition, including the opportunity to adopt an elephant.

For more information visit www.bornfree.org.uk

Pictures courtesy of the Born Free Foundation.

n The Born Free Foundation have released a comment piece in light of the tragic killing of Cecil the lion. For the full story turn to page 41.