Go Wild with Born Free - Responsible Travel with Rainbow Tours
Rainbow Tours was born out of one man's desire to share his incredible experiences in Africa with travellers, in a way that has a positive impact on the communities and species that visitors come to interact with. To this day, we still strive to work with carefully-chosen partners whose work in our destinations tirelessly protects, conserves and improves the biodiversity of the environments we love. That's why we're proud to be a long-time supporter of Born Free.
From rescuing imprisoned lions to protecting the remaining eastern lowland gorillas of Africa, the Born Free Foundation helps thousands of animals find better lives. Celia Nicholls from Born Free shares some of her favourite stories about animals they’ve helped.
From small beginnings, Born Free has grown into a global force for wildlife protection and conservation. Described by The Times as ‘Big enough to make a difference, but small enough to care’ the Born Free Foundation was founded by Virginia McKenna OBE and Bill Travers MBE in 1984 with their son Will Travers OBE, following Virginia and Bill’s starring roles in the classic film Born Free.
Today, headed by Will, Born Free is an international wildlife charity working throughout the world to save animals’ lives, stop suffering, rescue vulnerable individuals and protect threatened species. We campaign on key animal welfare and conservation issues, such as opposing the ivory trade and sport hunting, run major international projects devoted to protecting rare animals, from turtles to tigers, while our emergency teams rescue individual animals from lives of misery and mistreatment.
Through Born Free’s unique animal adoption programmes members of the public adopt an individual animal or family and help look after them. This is a wonderful way to support everything we do. You can sponsor your favourite animal from the Born Free adoption list - just head over to our website to find out more.
Below are just a few of our favourite stories about animals helped by our adopters.
Animals like Ewok the baby elephant and his mum Emily Kate, who live in Kenya with their wild family. Ewok’s grandmother was Echo the matriarch elephant, made world-famous in the BBC’s acclaimed ‘Echo of the Elephants’ series. Today Emily Kate’s little sister Esprit is on hand to help out with babysitting, while adopters help keep the family safe from ivory poachers.
Meanwhile in India, Roque the magnificent tiger lives at Born Free’s tiger sanctuary in Bannerghatta. It’s hard to believe he’s the same animal as the tiny terrified cub rescued by the charity from a Spanish pet-shop back in 1998. Today Roque enjoys life in his spacious forest enclosure and adopters help provide his daily food and care.
Beautiful Dolo the lion was kept on a 1-metre chain in Ethiopia for four long years. Starving and lonely, his desolate roars echoed around the town and his mane was rubbed off by the chain around his neck. But in 2007 Born Free rescued Dolo, and today he lives with Safia a feisty young rescued lioness at our Ensessakotteh sanctuary in Ethiopia. Here they have recovered from their ordeals and receive expert care and nourishing food thanks to their adopters.
Mugaruka and Chimanuka are formidable gorillas living wild in the mountain rainforests of Democratic Republic of Congo. Rare eastern lowland, silverback gorillas, both are powerful adult males. But Mugaruka lost a hand in a poacher’s cruel snare and, unable to defend his family, now mostly lives alone. Conversely, Chimanuka lives together with his large family, a ‘harem’ of females and their offspring. Since 2000, with the help of gorilla adopters Born Free supports the brave rangers who risk their lives to keep these gorillas safe from poachers.
Niger, adopters help protect the rarest giraffes in the world. Despite being well adapted to the dry climate and sparse vegetation, habitat loss and conflict with people over local crops means just 400 survive. Our adopters help us keep them safe, and support the team working to ensure giraffes and local communities can live happily together.
Some of Born Free’s animals are closer to home. Kyriakos is a stunning brown bear who lives at the Arcturos sanctuary in northern Greece. Wildborn, Kyriakos was just a four-month-old cub when his mother was killed in Greece. Fortunately, he and his twin brother Manolis were rescued by a kindly shepherd and now live at a sanctuary, supported by his adopters. Here they roam the woodlands, explore the undergrowth and take time out from the midday sun with a dip in one of the forest’s many pools.