Born Free’s tiger sanctuary is set within Bannerghatta Wildlife Park, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.
Here, in three acre jungle enclosures with large pools, the tigers can live out their lives in peace and dignity and a degree of freedom.
Born Free first rehomed six tigers to the wildlife park in 1987. They were from a defunt circus in Kent. The last of these tigers, Greenwich, died in 2006. Greenwich was about 21 years old.
Then, in April 2002, a Born Free sanctuary was opened in a private part of the Park, not open to visitors. The opening of the sanctuary coincided with the arrival of tigers that had previously been rescued by Born Free and were then living at the Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent. Transferring them to Bannerghatta enabled the tigers to enjoy larger and more natural conditions.
Born Free’s two sanctuaries for rescued lions and leopards are set within Shamwari’s award-winning wildlife reserve on the Eastern Cape of South Africa. This wonderful opportunity came about with the kind permission and generous support of Shamwari’s owner, Adrian Gardiner.
Here the lions and leopards can enjoy three-four acre bush enclosures, with views across the reserve. Having such a vantage point is important for the mental well-being of captive predators. The first lions to arrive at Shamwari were Raffi and Anthea, rescued from a Tenerife restaurant where they could only take one and a half paces in each direction. They arrived in 1997 and died in 2006, aged nearly 18 years, after nine years in their ancestral homeland.
More lions and leopards followed Raffi and Anthea and it became necessary to build first one and then two sanctuaries, each capable of caring for a maximum of 12 cats.
There is also an education centre at each sanctuary where school-children and visitors are taught about the plight of captive wildlife and the need to conserve wildlife where it belongs – in the wild.
The first, the Julie Ward Centre, was built in 1999, with the funds raised by the friends and family of young naturalist Julie Ward, killed in Kenya in 1988. This Centre in the southern part of the reserve near the town of Paterson. Then, when this sanctuary became nearly full to capacity, and it was not possible to extend further on that site, a new sanctuary was built thanks to the generous sponsorship of South African supporter, Mrs Jean Byrd. The Jean Byrd Centre was opened on 3rd November, 2006.
The Born Free Foundation has a no-breeding policy. There are many captive big cats in need of homes throughout the world, and the Foundation feels it is important not to add to this captive population, and to reserve sanctuary spaces for those animals most in need.
Situated in the heart of Malawi's capital city, the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre is a new and exciting 'People and Wildlife' wild animal rescue, rehabilitation and education facility. The Centre takes in wild animals that have been rescued locally from the illegal pet trade, works to rehabilitate them and return them to the wild, where they belong. For those animals that cannot be released, and for many wild animals rescued from overseas, the Centre provides lifetime care facilities in large natural enclosures. The Centre also works closely with the local communities, assessing their needs and looking at solutions that result in minimal impact on the environment. In March 2009, the Centre gave a home to a lion from a Romanian zoo, rescued by the Born Free Foundation. Bella settled in almost immediately and obviously enjoys her life in her Malawian forest enclosure.