The dramatic story of Joy and George Adamson becoming surrogate parents of an orphaned lion cub named Elsa and her eventual release back into the wild sold millions of copies around the world, and the extraordinarily successful film based on the book went on to win two Academy Awards.

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Photo: PBS

Lion cub

NATURE goes behind the scenes of Born Free to examine the genesis and aftermath of this landmark story. The film takes viewers through challenges in making Born Free and the real-life drama of the Adamsons as pioneering conservationists. The documentary revisits the people featured in the movie and discuss the importance and dangers of their revolutionary views about animals.

Illuminated by George Adamson’s journal entries, archival home movies, and conversations with the Adamsons’ close confidants, the film reveals shifting attitudes about conservation and their impact on lions in Africa.

Nature: Elsa's Legacy: The Born Free Story, Wednesday at 8 p.m. on PBS 6.

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