The Star (Nairobi)

12 February 2013

Kenya: UK 'Born Free' Actress and Kenya Airways Fight Poaching

Visiting British actress Virginia McKenna was in the country for the launch of a new anti-poaching campaign partnership between Born Free foundation and Kenya Airways.

The launch was held on Sunday at the Ivory Burning Site in the Nairobi National Park. Titus Naikuni, Group Managing Director, Kenya Airways said that preserving our wildlife has a "multiplier effect" that benefits a lot of people and asked the leaders to push for the passing of the Wildlife bill.

Naikuni then launched an in-flight coin collection campaign to raise funds to help facilitate the work of Born Free Foundation in ensuring that poaching is stopped.

Virginia who starred in the hit movie about saving Elsa the lion said, "Coming to Kenya we have noticed how poaching is destroying wildlife, I've heard stories of 12 elephant killed in Tsavo East and the horror stories. What has not been talked about is the story of the individual animals particularly when there is a little orphan standing by and watching."

She continued: "Born Free is lobbying with other interest groups and governments to ban lion trophies. We have worked with Kenya Airways before, we have done five rescues in Europe to bring the animals back to Africa. I'm so excited and grateful for bringing us in as a partner."

Virginia is best remembered for her 1966 role as Joy Adamson in the true-life film Born Free for which she received a nomination for a Golden Globe. Bill Travers, her real life husband, co-starred with her, portraying conservationist George Adamson, and the experience led them to become active supporters for wild animal rights and the protection of their natural habitat. She appeared in An Elephant Called Slowly, a travelogue of what it was like years ago in Kenya. The film features her close friend conservationist George Adamson and also elephants Eleanor (brought up by conservationst Daphne Sheldrick) and young Pole Pole.

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