Joy Adamson avec Elsa, photo:

Today we announce the winner of last month's listeners' competition and also a new question for January. We read from letters sent in by:Teodor Shepertycki, Tony Prescott, Marou Lou Krenek, Todd A. Berry, Anette Harris, John Sheppard, Ian Juniper.

Hello and welcome to the first Mailbox in 2006. Happy New Year to everyone and we hope you will continue listening to Radio Prague and sending us your reception reports, questions and comments.

Let's get straight to last month's competition question. We asked you to tell us the name of a wildlife conservationist and author who won wide recognition for her observations on animal behaviour in Africa. She was born in the north-eastern town of Opava. She went to Kenya at the age of 27, where she worked and lived until her death in 1980. Coincidentally, earlier this week it was exactly 25 years since her death and January the 20th will be the 95th anniversary of our mystery lady's birth.

She is not Jane Goodall or Mrs Amatucci as some of you have guessed. So let's now hear some of the correct entries.

This one is from Teodor Shepertycki from Canada:

"Your mystery lady is Joy Adamson, whose name at birth was Friederike Viktoria Gessner. Her name - as Joy Adamson, author of "Born Free" - comes from her third husband George Adamson. Prior to this she had been married to Austrian Victor von Karwill and Swiss botanist Peter Bally."

Some listeners wondered why some documents say she was born in Troppau, Austria, and others mention Opava. Well, Troppau is the German name of the Silesian town of Opava - many towns in the border regions have both Czech and German names.

This answer came from Tony Prescott from Australia:

"The naturalist described in your competition is Joy Adamson. Because she was born under the old Empire, references describe her as Austrian, just like Freud, or Mahler and Porsche who are described as German. Seems you Czechs have trouble holding onto your own!"

Mary Lou Krenek from Texas wanted to share this personal experience:

"Born Free became a popular book, movie, and song in the 1960s. I sang the song at one of my high school graduation ceremonies and the lyrics and music remain dear to my heart to this day. We all want to have that sense of being free."

Also from the United States, Todd A. Berry writes:

"The making of the motion picture 'Born Free' inspired the actors in the movie, Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, who played Joy and George Adamson, to establish the Born Free Foundation. Thanks for bringing back a happy memory of an endearing and enduring movie!"

Annette Harris who follows Radio Prague in Canada wrote:

"Joy Adamson wrote three books about Elsa and her life in Kenya: 'Born Free', 'Living Free', and 'Forever Free'. She was killed by a former employee January 3, 1980."

John Sheppard from England has sent us more detail:

"Her dead body was discovered on 3 January 1980 and at first it was thought she had been killed by lions, but later it was concluded that she had been murdered, possibly by poachers, but probably by a former employee who made an admission of guilt and was convicted of the crime. George Adamson was himself also fatally shot by poachers in 1989."

Ian Juniper follows Radio Prague in Australia and has more information about Joy Adamson's backround:

"Joy Adamson was born in 1910 to Viktor Gessner and Traute (née Greipel). Her father, Viktor, was a civil servant with qualifications as an architect or engineer. This information comes from 'The Great Safari', the Lives of George and Joy Adamson', by Adrian House; published by William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1993. I must confess that I had to look it up in one of my daughter Elizabeth's books - she is mad about animals, convicts and explorers."

Thank you for all those answers and the time you took researching. But as usual, only one of you can win, I'm afraid. This time the lucky one is Gautam Kumar Sharma from India. Congratulations and your prize is in the post.

And of course, our competition continues, with a new question for January, maybe a little more challenging than the previous one.

"The sugar cube is something that everybody is familiar with but what do we know about its origin? This month we would like to know who, when and where first invented the sugar cube."

The address for your answers is as usual, Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, Czech Republic or [email protected]. Now let's hear the title song from the film "Born Free" written by John Barry and sung by Matt Monro.