Born Free

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Born Free is a non-fiction book by Joy Adamson. First published in 1960,[1] it is about Elsa, a lioness that Joy and her husband raised from a cub. They became determined to return her to wild life.

Of Elsa, Joy Adamson wrote "Her good-natured temperment was certainly due in part to her character, but part too may have come from the fact that neither force nor frustration was ever used to adapt her to our way of life. For we tried by kindness alone to help her overcome the differences that lie between our two worlds."[2]

The story of Elsa and her cubs continued in Living Free and Forever Free.

The book was later adapted in 1966 into an Academy Award-winning movie starring Virginia McKenna OBE and husband Bill Travers. The award-winning title song subsequently became a pop music hit.

Born Free Foundation[edit]

The filming of Born Free had a profound effect on Virginia and Bill which lead to the creation of the Born Free Foundation[3] with the goal of Keeping wildlife in the wild. The foundation campaigns for awareness of wildlife issues and funds research as other wildlife charities do. It is notable for taking individual animals from inappropriate captivity and allowing them to live out the remainder of there lives in large reserves of their native habitat.

The foundation offers memberships, animal adoptions, and has a shop with gift items including the Born Free films, Christian the Lion at World's End, and Ring of Bright Water.


  1. Adamson, Joy. Born Free. London: Fontana Books, 1962. Title page verso.
  2. Adamson, Joy. Born Free. London: Fontana Books, 1962. p. 61.
  3. Born Free Foundation

See also[edit]