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Animal charity Born Free drops Martin Clunes

Photos - ITV

The actor has been dropped by an animal charity as its patron, after footage was broadcast of him riding an elephant.

The star of Doc Martin has been criticised after climbing on to the elephant during an episode of My Travels And Other Animals on ITV.

Following the criticism, the charity Born Free has cut ties with Clunes, who had been a celebrity patron.

Speaking in the Daily Mirror newspaper, Born Free chief executive officer Howard Jones said: "We can confirm that, with much regret, Martin Clunes is no longer a patron.

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

The 57-year-old former Men Behaving Badly actor is no longer listed as a celebrity patron on their website, but a cached web page still has his testimony on, which praises the charity.

A statement that is attributed to Clunes says: "I like to do whatever I can for Born Free whenever I am asked. I love the Born Free Foundation, it steps in wherever there's an animal facing cruelty, abuse or unfairness of any kind... any animal in any place.

"It's a truly unique resource for wildlife conservation with a knowledge base built on years of work in the field in so many countries with so many different species. You should love it too."

Other major celebrity backers of Born Free include actresses Joanna Lumley and Jenny Seagrove and broadcasters Nicky Campbell and Nick Knowles.

Sky News

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