Joy Adamson

Joy Adamson

Naturalist, writer, animal activist
Date of Birth: 20.01.1910
Country: Great Britain

Biography of Joy Adamson

Joy Adamson, a naturalist, writer, and animal advocate, was born as Frederica Victoria Gessner in January 1910 in Troppau, Austria-Hungary (now Opava, Czech Republic). From a young age, she showed a passion for animals, particularly lions. However, her love for wildlife had to take a backseat to her upbringing as a noblewoman, where she learned painting, piano, and other refined skills. She also became interested in psychoanalysis and wrote several articles praised by Dr. Freud himself.

Joy Adamson

In 1937, Joy and her husband, Victor von Klarvill, traveled to Kenya, which was a paradise for naturalists at the time. While Victor struggled with the loss of his homeland due to the Nazi occupation, Joy fell in love with Africa. Their marriage eventually ended, and Joy found solace with British botanist Peter Bailey. Together, they traveled, observed wildlife, and Joy documented her experiences through drawings and paintings. Her works earned her a gold medal from the Royal Horticultural Society.

Joy Adamson

During archaeological excavations, Joy discovered an ancient human ancestor, Australopithecus, with Louis Leakey. This experience further fueled her passion for wildlife conservation. She believed in the importance of preserving animals in their natural habitats and proposed the idea of raising them in captivity and then reintroducing them to the wild.

In 1956, Joy's life took a dramatic turn when her husband, George Adamson, a game warden, rescued three lion cubs after their mother attacked him. Joy decided to keep one of the cubs, Elsa, and raised her as a member of the family. This unique bond between a woman and a lioness captured the world's attention. Joy's book, "Born Free," published in 1960, became a bestseller and was later adapted into an Academy Award-winning film.

Inspired by the success of "Born Free," Joy traveled the world, giving lectures and raising funds for her "Elsa Foundation." She established several wildlife reserves in Kenya and worked tirelessly to protect endangered species. However, her efforts also faced challenges, such as Elsa's offspring causing conflicts with local farmers.

Despite her accomplishments, Joy's personal life faced hardships. Her relationship with George deteriorated, partly due to disputes over her self-promotion and the inclusion of his diaries in her books. In 1980, tragedy struck when Joy was murdered by her servant, Paul Ekai, who claimed she had refused to pay him. Her ashes were scattered over the graves of Elsa and Pippa, a cheetah she had raised.

Nine years later, George Adamson was also killed by poachers. Today, their work is continued by their colleagues and admirers in Kenya. Joy's legacy lives on through her bestselling books, including her autobiography titled "Wild Heart," which reflects her deep love for the wild and its creatures.