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Born Free USA

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Wildlife Preservation & Protection

Mission: Mission is to end the suffering of wild animals in captivity, rescue individual animals in need, protect wildlife — including highly endangered species — in their natural habitats, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. .

Target demographics: wildlife, animals

Geographic areas served: National and International

Programs: Born Free believes that every individual animal matters. Inspired by the Academy Award®-winning film Born Free, we work locally, nationally, and internationally on the conservation front-lines, in communities, classrooms, courtrooms, and the halls of Congress, to end wild animal cruelty and suffering and protect threatened wildlife. Born Free also operates the country’s largest primate sanctuary, which is home to 532 monkeys, many rescued from abuse in roadside zoos and private ownership or retired from research.n 1966, Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers starred in the classic wildlife film Born Free. The film told the true story of conservationists Joy and George Adamson who rescued a lioness cub named Elsa and successfully returned her to the wild. Virginia and Bill went on to make several wildlife films together, including in 1969 An Elephant Called Slowly with an elephant calf called Pole Pole. Although Virginia and Bill did everything they could to prevent this, when filming ended, Pole Pole was gifted to London Zoo by the Kenyan government. In 1982, Virginia and Bill went to visit Pole Pole at the zoo and the elephant, in clear distress, remembered Virginia and Bill and stretched out her trunk to reach them. Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna reach out to Pole Pole at the London Zoo. Even in her distress, she remembers them. Photo: Mail on Sunday[/caption]Virginia and Bill launched a campaign to give Pole Pole a better life but, in 1983, at age 16, Pole Pole died. Determined that her death would not be in vain, in 1984, Virginia, Bill and their eldest son Will launched Zoo Check – the charity that has evolved into Born Free.In 2002, Born Free USA was launched in the United States to bring Born Free’s vision to the American public. In 2007, Born Free merged with Animal Protection Institute (API).

Community Stories

25 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

ericamiller1216

Client Served

Rating: 5

I cant say enough good things about Born Free USA. While most of my experience with the organization has been through the primate sanctuary, I am amazed and often brought to tears by the animal rights issues that they fight for every single day. Their dedication to protecting wildlife is unmatched by anyone I've ever dealt with.

Steffanie B.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

My newest hybrid cat. Is she not beautiful?! I left a review four years ago. Recently I read the response regarding my outrage that this supposedly animal loving organization, concerning hybrid cats. It was disturbing. The total lack of compassion, and willingness to mass kill these felines is wrong. Not to mention, they support Big Cat Rescue's lies about these cats. The founder of Big Cat Rescue is a animal abuser that starved her hymalian breeding cats when her husband stole their papers. Instead of dropping these kitties at a local shelter, they died a slow and agonizing death. This can all be verified on her divorce papers. That is all animals are to this woman, a way to make herself rich. But these cats suffering is fine with BFUSA..

These cats are not vicious, are not Frankenkitties, but loving creatures. BTW exotic pets bond deeply to their person. They can feel love. Organizations like this lie about this to justify removing well cared for exotic pets into scammuaries, to receive basic care if they are lucky. I think this organization is so removed from animals, they believe their lies.

Just like ALDF they do nothing for local animals suffering in shelters from abuse. They also refuse to help wild animals suffering in a third world country in which the animals are being starved because of civil unrest. I mean PETA is helping these animals; and they are just as horrible. So what does that say about Born Free?

The CEO of BFUSA is a self centered, and a has a huge ego. I mean I read his tantrum on BFUSA's blog . Is he like a two year old? I did not get my way in California; because the Fish and Wildlife Commission listened to people with actual experience with these special felines.

The founder of BFUSA acts like a vegan; yet eats at steakhouses?! I mean using donations for eating out instead of saving wildlife?! Just wow! Maybe this organization should treat their employees better so their dirty little secrets are not blasted all over the internet.

The pictures of their primate sancuary is appalling. The cages are barren, and the stimulation is basic. The primates would be better off in zoos. Shame on this organization. I hope they are closed down. When PETA one ups you with their willingness to help wild animals in dire situation; you know it is a horrible organization.

Review from Guidestar

1 Steffanie G.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I do not know to much about this organization. I did inquire about why they are supporting to ban hybrid cats on California, and working with Big Cat Rescue, which uses domestic bunnies and feeds the bobcats their rehabiliting. How ADLF and this sanctuary can turn it ignore this abuse, especially when wildlife release specialist do not support this method. How these can blantly ignore this abuse is beyond me, as they say they love animals.

This ban they are supporting is horrid for owners and breeders with young generation. If they are Generation 1-3 and this ban passes, our beloved pets, and members of family, would be legally stolen from us. These beautiful animals would live with in sanctuaries with lions and tigers or be murdered by animal control. If you rescued a hybrid cat, and cannot prove their generation, they will die.

Is mass killing of a breed a act of a animal organization that cares for welfare of these felines? Not from my point of view, then they lie and say that we will not loose our cats, and they will be grandfathered in. That is if you have a older generation!

Any organization that truly cares about animals does not support legislation that kills them or removes them from loving homes. I own two Bengals, so I oppose this ban. I have been called a animal abuser. But this organization is, as is all the sanctuaries, are.

Comments ( 1 )

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bornfreeusa 11/05/2014

Our actions are guided by our belief that wildlife belongs in the wild – not interbred with domestic animals for the bemusement and profit for people. Hybrid cats create problems and potential threats to humans and to the environment. One of the main concerns is that, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are no known rabies vaccinations for these hybrids. This poses a risk since many hybrid cats are kept as pets in close proximity to humans and other companion animals. And, should these cats escape – and they do, as evidenced by the media and Born Free USA’s Exotics Incident Database - they can easily breed with feral cat colonies and wreak havoc to the eco system. By all accounts, they retain much of their wild instincts and are superior to the domesticated felines in catching their prey. The Audubon Society already has domestic cats on their radar for mass killings of native birds, we would hate to see the hybrid cats get added to that equation. Please read our CEO’s blog on this issue: http://www.bornfreeusa.org/bfusablog.php?p=4481&more=1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am also a volunteer and a donor. This is a remarkable, highly efficient, motivated, skillful advocacy group. The DC-based EVP is well-known within the field. I have neve seen so much as a dollar's worth of waste leak from this organization. The USA operation has the strong support of senior UK management.

AnimalLover

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Fantastic organization working to end captive animal suffering, and rescue those that they can.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Excellent charity working to conserve wild animals and rescue captive animals in horrible conditions. Born Free are brilliant at raising awareness for animal welfare causes and educating people about protecting species.

Board Member

Rating: 4

I have served on the board of Born Free U.S.A. for four years. The board and the organization are committed to both the protection and welfare of animals and to being good stewards of donations recieved. The CEO, Executive Vice President and the entire staff are dedicated and work hours way past what would be the norm. I have been involved with animal protection and welfare for many years and continue to be impressed with what BFUSA does. Our primate sanctuary in Texas is like none other in the U.S. and gives primates rescued from labs, zoos, pet owners, etc. a chance to live as close as possible to how they were meant to live....in the wild. Open enclosures of 50 plus acres are a huge step forward from 4X 4 cages or dressed up as dolls in homes or submitted to terrible testing techniques in labs. The joy of seeing them finally putting their feet on grass or climbing and swinging from trees is heart warming beyond description. The knowledge of the staff in regards to exoctic animals in captivity is tremendous and was demonstrated by the sad incident involving exotic cats, etc. in Ohio in 2011. BFUSA was the leading authority on the tragedy and gave excellent advice on how to keep it from happening again. These are only a few of many examples of what an excellent job this non profit does. Mary Trimble

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Perhaps a couple of years ago, I don't know how, I was introducted to Born Free USA as yet 'another' Save the Wildlife organization. I immediately learned they are not just 'another.' Born Free I consider my penpals to the world of help to those who cannot help themselves, as they say. They've filled my life with hope for the future of so many animals not yet protected, or should be. I read stories of meetings they've attended with woldwide organizations to form bonds to eliminate (or try) poaching, for example, a greed-oriented "disease," which with some help from many organizations, may diminish instead of diminish the number of animals they leave alive. So far I've only donated. I've been a proud sponsor to many of the Primates at their Sanctuary in Texas. I've donated "in-kind" articles to 'help' the Primates through the cold and heat of the seasons. I've actually felt a part of Born Free's dream. Their letters thanking me are to me personally as if I've been a friend for years. I receive gorgeous photos of my friends who I've sponsored at the Primate Sanctuary. I've learned how much more I need to learn about saving wildlife, how much more can be taught throughout the world about how they can save wildlife and yet live, sometimes in a closely knit area due to the encroachment of the environment on property that USED to belong for animals in which to live ONLY. Born Free is a pathway to the world of life, love of life, and the preservation of life. Their Chief Executive Officer, Will Travers, is not too time-consumed to answer silly questions of mine about possibly volunteering at their Primate Sanctuary in Texas! I have, I feel, a personal relationship with a few of the girls who work in the office in Sacramento. I'm thrilled, proud and want to volunteer when my schedule permits - soon! Just as soon as they need me! I write letters, suggested by Born Free, to the legislature supporting causes I believe in but did not know were at issue in the government. I cannot highly enough recommend this organization to any and or all of my friends! Donations are the 'easiest' for me right now, and perhaps with the economics being as it is, maybe that's not such a small thing after all. I hope not. I love every employee of Born Free, their volunteers, members, donators and, of course - Will. I thank him for allowing the organization to continue and be such a continuing and I believe even more powerful force in the struggle for the quality of lives of our wildlife - and the people who live in and around them.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a Board Member for two years, but a donor to this organization and its predecessors for nearly 40 years. The organization is well run, and has staff members who are true believers in the causes they serve. I've been thrilled to be a part of BFUSA and will continue to donate both my time and money to their wonderful work.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Prior to joining the Board, I had heard of the goals of Born Free, and thought that its mission was a noble one, particularly given that it did not have the resources of a Humane Society, etc. Since joining the Board, I am pleased to learn that it truly attempts to achieve its goals. Merely by way of example, when the recent animal tragedy occurred in Ohio, Born Free found itself in the middle of much needed discussion about legislation to assure that the tragedy does not occur again in Ohio and elsewhere. It did so by making itself available, and informed on the topic, for the media - resulting in media opportunities to get this issue out to the public. The goal here not being to get in the spotlight, but to get the public engaged in a covnersation about much needed legislation. It is that quality that sets Born Free apart - pushing its mission without regard to its limitations.

Sharon R.

Donor

Rating: 5

I first joined this animal group when they were known as Animal Protection Institute in 1979. I've had nothing but good experiances with them. When they became Born Free USA they just got better. The CEO Will Travers I had the privalage to meet him twice. He is a very nice person who u feel very comfortable with. You can tell by talking to him that he genuinely loves animals!! Also the staff at Born Free is wonderful. I have had communication with Lorry Marvin who is friendly very informative and very pleasant to talk with. She has made me feel that what I donate monthly is so helpful even though it's not a huge amount you still feel that you are really making a difference!!! I have nothing but good things to say about this organization. It's nice that it is local also.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Our household budget for charitable giving includes animal welfare and legal defense organizations. Born Free USA is one of our targeted animal welfare groups because we are confident that our donation we will be spent wisely. In 2011 we donated Home Depot and Pet Smart prepaid gift cards to the Born Free Primate Center located in Texas. The cards that were used to help build the new facilities that were needed to accommodate the sudden influx of 113 new primates. These primates are the byproducts of research and unwanted pets. Frankly we cannot think of a better animal welfare organization to support than Born Free USA. We encourage you to take all that they do, their work also includes promoting and lobbying for animal anti cruelty legislation.

1 MadisonBirdman

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When I was the president of the Madison, WI bird club, Born Free helped me understand the issues facing pet birds sold in pet stores and the need for tougher legislation. With their help I was able to start a campaign to educate the community, pet stores and legislators. The people involved with Born Free are among the most dedicated and helpful where it concerns animal welfare. I would gladly work with them again.

1 LoraKim J.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been working with Born Free for a couple of years now. Their message for addressing avian welfare issues is really needed in the community and I appreciate that they approach this so professionally and thoroughly. They also make connections to the welfare for wild birds, which is an important link as health is interconnected no matter where the birds live. Furthermore they have been fantastic in supporting the people and parrots of Honduras - vitally important work for the ecological and human communities there that would not be happening without them. Thank you!

Stephanie2345

Donor

Rating: 5

I love this group! Watching the movie Born Free is one of my earliest memories of seeing people devoted to protecting animals. I am so proud to support Born Free USA as they carry on the legacy of that movie. Protecting wild animals - whether they are here in the US or around the globe - is so critical. I love that Born Free USA helps animals in so many ways - from strenfthening laws to investigations to providing sanctuary to wild species in need. They give me easy ways to help, and to keep up to date on the latest issues affecting wild animals.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have watched this organization (formerly API) over the past 15 years, and have been constantly impressed by the scale of output from such a small and dedicated team. On top of that, they manage to produce quality campaigns on a shoestring budget that often surpass what much larger organizations produce with quadruple the funds and workforce. The staff also practice what they preach. They regularly rescue individual animals from the streets and dig deeply into their own pockets to save lives.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

A highly effective organization with a knowledgeable, dedicated, responsive staff. Born Free USA is among the few animal welfare organizations that is addressing the captive bird and exotic wildlife trade in a meaningful way!

The Avian Welfare Coalition is a small group, and we have been fortunate to partner with Born Free USA on several successful campaigns, including National Bird Day, a day of action and education for captive birds now in its 10th successful year. They truly understand the scope of the issues, and approach the solutions with finesse. Their guidance and support have been valuable assets to our efforts.

Denise Kelly, President & Co-Founder, The Avian Welfare Coalition

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have worked with and have great respect for several Born Free USA's staff, who are not only devoted to improving the welfare of animals nationally and worldwide, but have been very effective in their work. I appreciate the ways in which they offer positive alternatives (such as fffashion show, national bird day, etc) to cultivate compassion for animals. Having joined them at the capital in Sacramento on several occasions, I have seen their efforts effectively bring about legislative wins to protect animals from cruelty.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Born Free USA is a top-rated non-profit -- "Best in America"-- as dubbed by ICA, Independent Charities of America.
This is one of many recognitions the animal advocacy has received, and with great reasons.
Born Free addresses numerous concerns regarding the welfare of all animals, wild and domestic.
The subjects they focus on and the changes they make are of grand magnitude, even as a comparatively smaller organization.
It is clear that this non-profit obviously doesn't work for profit-- they truly work for the selfless reasons to make a better life for animals, and to bring awareness to humans and the wrong-doings that are happening to animals that we aren't typically aware of.
After personally working with and getting to know two of the staff members for Born Free, I was more than honored and privileged to collaborate with them, an organization and with people full of actions backed by facts as well as compassion. My own personal perceptive has shifted regarding the treatment of animals, and it was brought to my attention and many things we participate in condones the mistreatment of animals, specifically fashion where animal furs and skins are used and makeup products as well and also the simple truth about mistreatment of circus animals and such.
I am more than grateful that such an organization exists.
They have really moved mountains and hopefully will continue to.
Thank you for shedding much needed light, Born Free USA.

PJFitz

Donor

Rating: 5

Born Free USA is a reIatively small organization but they are a powerhouse when it comes to wildlife protection.

One of the aspects of this organization I have been most impressed with, is their willingess to reach out to the grassroots level. A couple years back, my husband was working on incorporating avian welfare in a state bill, and staff from Born Free went out of their way to work with him. This is how the animals benefit, by our working together.

The following are just several of their other accomplishments.

They manage an assortment of campaigns, including Pet Shops Exposed, Animals in Entertainment, Trapping and Fur Trade, International Wildlife Trade, as well as specific projects like Parrots in Cameroon and Dolphins in Turkey.

They have gotten critical undercover footage of animal cruelty, which heightens public awareness.

They host a Fur Free Fashion show with the intention of promoting humane designs.

With all this, they still manage to run a sanctuary for previously abused and neglected primates, over 500 of them!

I am grateful to Born Free for their dedication and work to keeping wildlife where they belong - in the wild.