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2017 marks an exciting year for the Born Free charity, which was founded back in 1984 by actors Bill Travers MVE, Virginia McKenna OBE and their son Will Travers OBE. Not only will they shortly be unveiling their refreshed look, but they also have a number of exciting projects to announce.

Rather than just asking for a donation, Born Free are raising funds with their Lion adoption packs which also highlights their next lion rescue taking place this May – all money raised from the sale of his adoption packs will help provide lifetime care for Dolo and fund other rescued animals.

Adoption starts from just £2.50 per month. Everyone that takes out adoption with Born Free receives a unique pack including:

A cuddly toy lion

A glossy photo of Dolo

      A personalised certificate

A copy of Dolo’s story

Born Free window sticker

Born Free folder

2 copies of Born Free’s Adopt! Magazine throughout the year with updated on Dolo’s progress


Dolo’s Story:

Many of Born Free Foundation’s projects and campaigns require them to be persistent, patient and prepared to commit for the long haul.  Their plans, initiated in 2006, to develop Ethiopia’s first Wildlife Rescue, Conservation and Education Centre (named Ensessakotteh) required these very qualities.  However, with support from the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority and His Excellency, President Wolde-Giorgis they are now starting to bring benefit to many rescued wild animals who need their care.

In a reflection of the virtues needed to develop Ensessakotteh, one animal in particular has demonstrated his own fortitude – Dolo.  An iconic image of this young male lion suffering helped trigger plans for the Centre.  Dolo was originally held on a one metre long chain for four years before his removal to a temporary facility in Ethiopia’s Awash National Park.

On March 22nd 2011, Dolo was moved to his new lifetime care facility at Born Free’s Centre which offers him space, shade and peace.  A large team including the charity’s Ethiopia Project Director Stephen Brend, Vet Consultant Rea Tschopp, Born Free Foundation Founder Virginia McKenna, Programmes Director Alison Hood, Senior Vet Consultant John Knight and many more accompanied Dolo on his relocation.

Performing a veterinary exam just prior to his move, they found that Dolo has retinal atrophy, probably due to a nutritional deficiency when young and this had left him with very limited vision.  He had to therefore get used to his new environment; a space far bigger and more complex and stimulating than anything he has experienced before.

Since his move, he loves exploring and his posture and demeanour is improving. Dolo is still a young lion and the charity hope that ‘Ensessakotteh’ will work its magic on him; turning him from a despondent, depressed animal on the end of a chain to a handsome male who can lay claim to his territory and who will explore the bushes and trees and find a few favourite shady spots to rest up in.

Project Director Stephen Brend reports that “Today, his roar sounds out across Ensessakotteh, and he has space, grass under foot, peace and privacy. He can work his muscles and he can stretch up against the fence higher than he has ever been able to stretch in his life.”

Now that Born Free has completed building the secure lion enclosure; which gives consideration to the materials available, the cost and, vitally, the provision of a multifaceted environment for the lions, work will begin on the second lifetime care enclosure.  There are already several animals waiting to come to this centre, including the lion awaiting his rescue in May 2017 but Dolo is leading the way for the lions!


Painful images of Dolo before his rescue



A much healthier Dolo after his rescue


Born Free

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