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Born Free USA believes every individual animal matters.
Inspired by the Academy Award®-winning film Born Free, we work locally, nationally, and internationally to end wild animal
cruelty and suffering and protect threatened wildlife. Born Free USA also operates one of the country’s largest primate sanctuaries.


Our primate sanctuary in south Texas, the largest in the country, provides a safe and permanent home for 550 primates, some retired from research facilities, and many rescued from inhumane roadside zoos and private ownership. In 2017, the sanctuary was featured on NatGeo WILD's Animal ER! Watch the episode here.


Our legislative efforts push for tough new laws and more effective enforcement to end barbaric trapping, stop trophy hunting, and ban the illegal trade of wildlife products, such as ivory. This has resulted in recent legislation protecting wild animals from exploitation in zoos, circuses and so-called "entertainment."


Our education and awareness initiatives, including our Fur for the Animals campaign, and State Trapping Report Card, put a spotlight on urgent issues, and provide meaningful ways to get involved and make a difference. 

Photo: Courtesy Columbia Pictures

Launched in 2002, Born Free USA is inspired by Virginia McKenna and her (late) husband Bill Travers, who founded The Born Free Foundation (UK) in 1984. Their experience in Kenya filming the classic 1966 Academy Award®-winning film Born Free, the story of Joy and George Adamson's fight to successfully return Elsa the lioness to a wild and free life, launched the couple's Compassionate Conservation movement aimed at keeping wildlife in the wild. This movement continues to motivate millions of followers and activists across the globe. In 2007, Born Free USA merged with Animal Protection Institute (API). We are celebrating API's 50th anniversary in 2018.
The film forever changed the way people think about wildlife and has touched the hearts and minds of people around the world for generations. Even former President Barack Obama has noted that Born Free was among the first films he saw as a child, saying, "I remember that movie having an impact on me." He recalled being moved by Elsa's release, adding, "I couldn't have been more than four or five, but I remember choking up on that."


September 27, 2018
Joao - West Hollywood Bar at The Jeremy
Actress Abigail Spencer and Entertainment Executive Mike Fisher hosted Born Free USA's A Celebration of Wildlife event on Thursday, September 27 at Joao - West Hollywood Bar at The Jeremy. The event helped us secure the essential resources needed to support our Primate Sanctuary in south Texas, the largest such facility in the country, home to more than 500 residents, and for our critical efforts to protect U.S. wildlife from trapping, safeguard the Endangered Species Act, and influence policies to end trophy hunting. Thank you to everyone who helped make this event a success!


Trophy Hunting: Killing Is Not Conservation
Born Free USA Sues Administration Over Lack of Transparency on Newly Appointed Council that Promotes Trophy Hunting
In November 2017, Born Free USA submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to find out more about the U.S. Department of the Interior's pro-trophy hunting International Wildlife Conservation Council. We wanted to know why the Council was established, how its members were chosen, and what its duties are, among other details. Our FOIA request has been neglected, so on March 14, we filed a complaint against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Continue reading >
Members of the DOI's International Wildlife Conservation Council Represent Pro-Hunting Interests

On November 24, Born Free submitted a comment to the U.S. Department of the Interior, voicing concerns about the establishment of the pro-trophy hunting International Wildlife Conservation Council. We argued that the Council is non-essential, that its mission is not in the public interest, and that it does not provide a balanced perspective on trophy hunting. We feared that Council would be made up of active hunters, as well as representatives from the firearms industry, hunting sports industry, and international hunting outfitter industries. The list of Council members has been released, and we're disappointed to say that all of our suspicions were confirmed; it reads as a who's-who of hunting interests. Continue reading >

Born Free Fears USFWS Memorandum Will Increase Trophy Hunting

On March 1, 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued a memorandum withdrawing its earlier findings as to whether the trophy hunting of certain species from parts of Africa enhanced the survival of those species. Going forward, USFWS decisions to issue individual permits for trophy hunting imports will be done on a case-by-case basis. At first glance, this memorandum should revert the process back to what the law dictates – that trophy hunting is permitted only after an enhancement finding is made. But, in practice, this memorandum will likely result in trophy hunting permits being freely granted. Continue reading >


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