Born Free ditches Martin Clunes as patron for riding an elephant

The actor was filmed taking a ride on an elephant, an activity Born Free is opposed to

Bad trunk call: Clunes climbs aboard the pachyderm
Bad trunk call: Clunes climbs aboard the pachyderm

The Born Free Foundation has dropped the actor Martin Clunes as a patron after he was filmed riding an elephant for a TV documentary.

The wildlife and conservation charity, which campaigns against the exploitation of wild animals, said in a statement that it was opposed to activities such as riding elephants.

For the documentary, Martin Clunes: My Travels and Other Animals, which was broadcast on ITV last week, Clunes is filmed climbing onto an elephant using her ears and trunk, then riding the elephant along with its keeper.

In the footage, he can be heard saying he "doesn’t want to hurt her".

The Born Free Foundation statement said: "We can confirm that, with much regret, Martin Clunes is no longer a patron of Born Free.

"Born Free has always been opposed to the exploitation of captive wild animals for entertainment and human interactions, including riding elephants."

The statement went on to praise Clunes for his work for the charity.

"Martin was a generous and loyal patron for many years, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for wild animals in need. We thank him for his support and dedication."

Another page on the Born Free Foundation’s website says the charity opposes "wild-caught elephants being kept in captivity for entertainment" and campaigns to educate the public about the dangers associated with elephant riding.

Third Sector was unable to contact Clunes for comment.

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