The OAT Mission
OAT is a family trust established to end animal cruelty and exploitation by supporting organisations and initiatives concerned with animal welfare and conservation. The trust seeks partners and projects that are aligned with their vision and are achieving positive outcomes on the ground. This embodies the values of the Olsen family, inspired by their love of all animals.
Why OAT Started
"I have always had a passion for animal welfare. My vision for OAT was inspired by my involvement in the rescue of a French circus lion, Simba. After nine years of exploitation, Born Free came to the rescue and facilitated Simba’s return to Africa and I was fortunate enough to accompany him and the Born Free rescue team on his journey. Sadly, like all institutionalised animals, he will never be able to return to the wild. However, Simba lived happily and in good care at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre in Malawi, together with his life-long companion, Bella, a lioness rescued from a Romanian zoo, some six years prior. Sadly both lions have since left us but at least they were shown compassion and respect in their final years.
A lot has happened since this rescue in 2012.
During 2015 I set up Olsen Animal Trust following a fortunate set of circumstances which enabled me to express my passion for animal welfare further. I will always be a huge supporter of Born Free, as it was their work and dedication that inspired me, but I am also pleased to say that we are now supporting a variety of projects in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa and more recently in Vietnam, China and also Afghanistan, the Maldives, Borneo, Iran and the UK! The range of projects we support covers a wide spectrum of activities including animal rescue and rehabilitation, compassionate conservation and education outreach.
OAT is now very much a family charity and my brother, Dave Higgs and husband, Jon Olsen, fellow Trustees, are actively involved.
Dave, aka OATOKE, is our man on the ground and is responsible for developing relationships with people who deliver the projects we support, and Jon keeps us on track by providing commercial and strategic advice.
We are also fortunate enough to have engaged colleagues, Catherine Hobbs and Polly Mason, who assist us with all aspects of managing the Trust.
We are hopeful our children, Jeffrey and Nicola, will follow in our footsteps and continue the legacy. They are showing positive signs…."