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Born to be Free tells the heart-warming true story of lion expert Gareth Patterson introducing George Adamson’s orphaned lion cubs back into the wild

When the grand old ‘lion man of Africa’, George Adamson, passed away, the last of his lion cub orphans faced an uncertain future.

Would the cubs have to spend their entire lives behind bars in a zoo, or would they have a free life in the wild, as George had intended for them?

Lion expert Gareth Patterson rescues George’s cubs and, by living as a human member of the little pride, Gareth prepares to introduce the young lions back into the wild.

This heart-warming book tells the true story of lioness Rafiki, her sister, Furaha, and her brother, Batian.

• Many years ago, it was estimated that some 250 000 lions existed across the continent of Africa. Today it is thought that only 20 000 lions remain. Due to the actions of poachers, trophy hunters and conflict with people because of their livestock, the mighty king of the animals is in real trouble.

• The title of this book is Born to be Free and that is what all lions and other wild animals should be – free. Free to live their lives in the wild as nature had intended. Rafiki’s story shows how important it is for lions to be free – and that we should protected from harm. The African bush would no longer be the same if all the lions were gone. What would we say to our children’s children if the last lion was gone – forever gone?

• That is why all of us must hold the lion in our hearts, and do our best to protect Rafiki’s kind.


Raised in west, east and southern Africa, Gareth’s entire adult life has been dedicated to the greater protection of the African lion and Africa’s elephants. He has written about his life in the wilds in 11 internationally published books, and his story has been broadcasted across the world in documentaries such as In Tribute to George Adamson, Shadows of Gold and Gray and the Animal Planet documentary, The Search for the Knysna Elephants. Patterson was presented with the Nick Steele Memorial Award for the Environmentalist of the Year at the SAB Environmental Media Awards 2016.

Visit Gareth’s personal website:
Visit Sekai’s website (Gareth’s African Environmentalism Group):


Last of the Free

‘An extraordinary tale of endurance, triumph and tragedy’ – The Times, London.

‘… Through it all emerges a character deeply in love with his charges, someone whose passion may well ensure that they are not the last of the free great predators.’ – Kirkus Review

‘An extraordinary story.’ – Daily Mail

‘A story about hardship, dedication and demanding work … a message that deserves wide readership.’ – Literary Journal ‘It is both heart-warming and heart-rending and I defy you to read it without a tear in your eye.’ – Manchester Evening News

With My Soul Amongst Lions

‘Patterson soldiers on, triumphing over adversities that would have broken lesser men … like Adamson before him, he cannot bear to think of a lion that is not free.’ – The Times, London

‘Movingly told … a story of one man’s amazing devotion’. – Today

‘His story, tinged with triumph and tragedy in equal measure, is a powerful plea on behalf of all lions.’ – BBC Wildlife magazine

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