Calling all conservationists: Enter the Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation 2019 to win £15,000

International wildlife charity Born Free is delighted to announce that applications for the Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation (VMA) 2019 are now being accepted.

Named in honour of Virginia McKenna OBE – the actress and campaigner who co-founded Born Free in 1984, along with her late husband Bill Travers and her eldest son Will Travers – the VMA isdesigned to support outstanding individual conservationists, researchers and practitioners who put the welfare of individual animals at the heart of their effective conservation actions.

Actress Virginia McKenna

The winner of the award will receive a grant worth up to £15,000 to help implement their Compassionate Conservation agenda, as well as support from Born Free to help raise their professional profile worldwide.

Virginia McKenna OBE stated: “I hope this award will recognise, inspire and support outstanding individual conservationists, researchers and practitioners who place a very high priority on animal welfare while undertaking field conservation of species under threat, conservation policy or environmental education.”

2019 is the seventh year that the award will recognise individuals across the globe, with previous winners including:

  • Jackson Mbeke, Director of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE) for his work with critically endangered eastern lowland gorillas
  • Shivani Bhalla, of the Ewaso Lions Project, for her work on human/lion conflict
  • Professor Anna Nekaris, of Oxford Brookes University and the Little Fireface Project, for her work on slow loris conservation and welfare
  • The Mad Dog Initiative, a project which aims to deliver conservation benefits to endangered species by humanely controlling domestic and feral dogs in and around Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar
  • Neotropical Primate Conservation in Peru, which tackles illegal wildlife trade by partnering with wildlife authorities, police, public prosecutors and grassroots organisations.

Those wishing to enter the awards should submit a short application explaining their background and demonstrating the relevance of their work to both animal welfare and conservation, as well as providing a concise proposal of the work the Virginia McKenna Award grant will enable them to implement.

To submit an application or to find out more about the Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation visit

  • About Born Free

Born Free was founded by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, who starred in the movie classic, Born Free (1966), together with their eldest son, Will. Born Free’s mission is to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs. Born Free opposes the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaigns to keep wildlife in the wild.

Born Free promotes Compassionate Conservation which strives to enhance the survival of threatened species in the wild and protect natural habitats while respecting the needs and safeguarding the welfare of individual animals. Born Free seeks to have a positive impact on animals in the wild and protect their ecosystems in perpetuity, for their own intrinsic value and for the critical roles they play within the natural world. For more information about Born Free please visit:

Hits: 64