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Born Free USA Launches Expert Honorary Council to Lead Global Change for Animals


WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Born Free USA, an internationally recognized leader in animal welfare and compassionate conservation, announced today the formation of a new Honorary Council to strengthen Born Free USA's wildlife conservation initiatives and raise awareness and funding for vital programs. The council is composed of artists, activists, distinguished business executives, animal experts, and philanthropic leaders from across the United States and West Africa. Each member of the group brings a rich background of experience and dedication to animals and together they form a vibrant and diverse network to help keep wildlife in the wild.

"I am inspired and energized by the deep wealth of knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm of each Honorary Council member," Angela Grimes, CEO of Born Free USA. "We have established a powerful collaboration to protect wildlife."

Eric Bear was born in a year of the monkey. He is a film actor, serial entrepreneur, and founder of the award-winning R&D lab, MONKEYmedia. He holds more than 100 patents in human-friendly technology and has licensed his inventions to all of the major motion picture studios and top consumer electronics companies in the world.

As a kinesthetic artist, Eric finds inspiration and movement teachings in the presence of animals. He was a volunteer naturalist in his youth, nurturing orphaned wildlife by bottle, and is currently working with Born Free to implement energy monitoring and literacy technologies in support of freeing itself from dependency on the grid.

Rocky Dawuni is a GRAMMY-nominated Ghanaian-born Afro Roots Reggae musician, activist, United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the Environment for Africa, and Global Ambassador for the U.N. Foundation's Clean Cooking Alliance alongside actress Julia Roberts and Chef Jose Andres.

Born Free USA is currently working in collaboration with Rocky to develop outreach and youth engagement strategies supporting the Ghanaian authorities in the efforts they lead to tackle wildlife crime.

Phil Hammond has had a lifelong passion for promoting the well-being of animals, starting with caring for a disabled animal as a teenager. He was an event manager for Hewlett-Packard for nearly thirty years before returning to his true calling helping animals. For the past eight years, he has managed and provided veterinary assistant services for his husband's concierge-style, house-call, holistic veterinary practice in Los Angeles.

Louise Linton, a Scottish actress, director, and philanthropist, has been an animal welfare advocate since childhood. Since moving to the United States, Louise has supported numerous animal welfare organizations through her activism, fundraising, and financial contributions. In addition to being a founding member of the Born Free USA Honorary Council, Louise also recently joined the board of directors of a leading animal advocacy group, Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL), whose members include Diane Keaton, Margaret Perenchio, and other high-profile animal advocates.

In 2019, she hosted a fundraiser for Born Free USA's Primate Sanctuary to raise funds for medical and veterinary supplies, food, enclosure improvements, and toys for the more than 500 primates at the sanctuary.

Dr. Patrick Mahaney is a veterinarian (VMD), certified veterinary acupuncturist (CVA), and certified veterinary journalist (CVJ). Dr. Mahaney has been practicing as a veterinarian since 1999 when he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Upon moving to Los Angeles, Dr. Mahaney discovered clients' demand for specialized veterinary services and, in 2008, founded California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness (CPAW), Inc. As a believer in the health-yielding power of nutrition, Dr. Mahaney approaches his patients' dietary needs with the intent of providing the highest-quality, whole-food ingredients and has become a co-owner of PURE Dog Food.

Tony Saxton is a Founding Partner of Terra Group Holdings, an opportunistic investment group committed to building successful businesses, while impacting the world in a positive way. He is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Terra Sustainable Technologies, an innovative design engineering, sustainable systems integration technologies firm, and the Co-Founder of Terra Organics, a provider of sustainably produced foods and products. Mr. Saxton also co-founded Terra Conservation Initiative, organized to protect our environment, our wildlife, and our most vulnerable ecosystems, and Terra Explore Expeditions, which combines training in expeditionary science, photography, ecological science, and wildlife biodiversity so that participants have the skills and opportunities to effectively contribute to critical ecosystem and wildlife conservation initiatives around the world.

Charles Siebert is a poet, journalist, essayist, and a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, for which he has written 14 cover stories, the majority about humanity's relations with the wild and the animals who reside there. He has also written for The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Outside, Men's Journal, and National Geographic.

In July 2019, his cover story in The New York Times Magazine about the importation of 18 African elephants by three U.S. zoos helped drive the recent passage of a new resolution by CITES prohibiting the future import of wild elephants for zoo exhibits. Born Free USA awarded Charles the 2019 Born Free USA Wildlife Ambassador award because of his piece exposing the plight of captive elephants.

Ginny Tranchik, Senior Director of Capacity Building at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), is dedicated to sharing best practices with the community development field and is an expert facilitator of trainings and technical assistance provider within and outside of LISC. She is also a member of LISC's credit committee, providing guidance and technical assistance to program staff in assessing and improving the financial position of organizations supported by LISC. Prior to joining LISC, Ginny worked for 23 years in banking, specializing in treasury and investment management. She holds a master's in nonprofit management from the New School University's Milano Graduate School and a BA in Latin American Studies from Barnard College.

For more information about the Born Free USA Honorary Council, please visit

For more information about Born Free USA, visit

About Born Free USA

Born Free USA works tirelessly 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. As a leading wildlife charity, Born Free USA opposes the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaigns to keep them where they belong – in the wild. The organization promotes Compassionate Conservation 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.

Inspired by their experience filming the iconic movie Born Free, Virginia McKenna and her late husband Bill Travers, along with their son, Will, founded The Born Free Foundation (UK) in 1984. Born Free USA was launched in 2002, bringing their Compassionate Conservation movement, aimed at keeping wildlife in the wild, to the American public.

Located in south Texas, Born Free USA's Primate Sanctuary provides a permanent home for approximately 500 monkeys, many of whom have been rescued from research facilities, inhumane conditions at zoos, and private ownership. These animals have often endured a lifetime of abuse, neglect, and cruelty, and come to the sanctuary with special physical and emotional needs, requiring extensive care and services.

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Garrett Johnson
Born Free USA
(202) 368-6833

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