Will Travers

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Will Travers
William Morell Lindon Travers

(1958-11-04) 4 November 1958 (age 62)
Hammersmith, London, England[1]
OrganisationBorn Free Foundation
ChildrenLily (born 1991)
William (aka 'Wij') (born 1994)

Will Travers OBE (born 4 November 1958) is an English director, writer, broadcaster and animal rights activist. He is President of the Born Free Foundation, Born Free USA and Species Survival Network.[2][3] He is the son of English actors and wildlife campaigners Bill Travers (1922-1994) and Virginia McKenna.

In 1964, at the age of five, Travers travelled with his parents to Kenya where they were starring together in the 1966 true-life film Born Free (1966), portraying conservationists Joy Adamson and George Adamson, who rescue a lioness cub named Elsa and successfully return her to the wild. The experience led Travers' parents to become active supporters for wild animal rights and the protection of their natural habitat.[4]

When Travers was 12 years old, the Travers family took care of Christian, a captive-bred lion, originally from Ilfracombe Zoo and who came, via a department store and a furniture shop on the King's Road in Chelsea, London, to live at the Travers' family home in Surrey, England. Christian was subsequently returned to a wild and free life in Africa by the Travers' friend, conservationist George Adamson. The story of Christian was made into a documentary film: Christian, The Lion at World's End, by Travers' father Bill.[citation needed]

Travers' mother Virginia McKenna appeared in An Elephant Called Slowly, a travelogue which features elephants Eleanor (brought up by conservationist Daphne Sheldrick) and young elephant Pole Pole. The subsequent premature death of Pole Pole, after the elephant was transferred to London Zoo led to McKenna and her husband launching the Zoo Check Campaign in 1984.[5] As co-founder, Travers assisted his parents in establishing Zoo Check which was renamed the Born Free Foundation in 1991. Travers also founded the Species Survival Network in 1992. Travers is Executive President of the Born Free Foundation, Born Free USA and the Species Survival Network. Travers is a trustee of The Hummingbird Initiative, a patron of The High Five Club, an advisor to the Olsen Animal Trust and a director of Nice Little Effort Limited.

Travers was appointed OBE in The Queen's 2012 Birthday Honours for services to wildlife conservation and animal welfare.[6]

Travers started following a vegetarian diet in 1983 and made the transition to veganism in April 2014.[7]


  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  2. ^ "Chief Executive's Office". Born Free Foundation. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  3. ^ "Will Travers (@willtravers) | Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  4. ^ "Born Free's History". Born Free Foundation. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  5. ^ Gilchrist, Roderick. "Virginia McKenna: freedom's deadly price". The Telegraph, 13 January 2011. Retrieved 9/5/12 at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/8257102/Virginia-McKenna-freedoms-deadly-price.html
  6. ^ "Queen's birthday honours list 2012: OBE". Guardian News & Media. 16 Jun 2012. Archived from the original on 26 June 2019. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Born Free President Will Travers OBE About Respect For Animals". Vegan Life Magazine. 16 Jun 2012. Archived from the original on 30 December 2018. Retrieved 4 November 2018.