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( tracih )

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NATURE: Elsa's Legacy: The Born Free Story

As the film movingly captured, Elsa’s legacy is indeed that she was the first to foster the view to see wild animals as individuals. Indeed, this has been an incredibly important realization for humankind and the advancement of wildlife conservation. I thank Elsa, and all involved for that.

It should also to be emphasized that Elsa, her human family, the place and time were also unique – it is not something that can be recreated today. Some people could see this story and think “I want that special relationship with a wild animal,” which leads to all the problems we see every day about attacks, wild animals being kept as pets, etc. The situation with Elsa was rare, and is NOT safe or recommended. As George’s relationship with the lion, Boy, tragically showed, even when providing “love” and the “best” care possible (living without bars, in his natural “home”), Boy still attacked twice, killing someone he knew and was raised with.

And I’m in a special position to truly understand when those “good intentions” – go bad. I work at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary. A place where Elsa’s legacy does live on. It’s place where primates are seen as individuals yet, are allowed to live as free as they can be with limited human interaction.

We are inspired by Elsa to help individuals in need. We rescue individual primates from abusive or exploitative situations as “pets” in people’s homes, as entertainment at roadside zoos and subjects in laboratories. They come to us each with their own individual story and with their own individual path to relearning to just be a monkey. And some of the hardest cases we deal with are those primates who were kept as pets – those animals kept with “good intentions” and given “love.”

If you’re like me, seeing Elsa’s story was inspiring, but at the end I felt a need to better connect what happened in Africa so many years ago and what is currently happening to wildlife here in the USA – and what I can do to help. It is in the spirit of Elsa, whose iconic image is on our logo, that I urge you to virtually visit www.bornfreeusa.org/sanctuary and meet some of the individuals who live there and discover what you can do to help us Keep Wildlife in the Wild.

Traci Hanson
On-site Manager
Born Free USA
Primate Sanctuary
traci@bornfreeusa.org

January 12, 2011 at 8 a.m. ( | suggest removal )