Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Jean Byrd Centre

29th August till 18th September 2008


It has been very windy recently

(Glen) – The most significant thing is the death of James.  It is very hard. 

(Editor – James died on 21st August 2008, following an anaesthetic for a routine health check.  Post mortem results and follow-up histology reports and blood tests were inconclusive, which is frustrating as it seems we will never know what caused his death.)

Mother and son seem to have bonded more closely since his death.  Fortunately they are keeping well and eat well. 

Jools is always alert! I did a fence patrol when I was standing in for Bongani and she walked with me, but most of the time her tail was lashing side to side and that to me in lion language means business. So what I did I just backed away and slowly gave her back her territory, or shall I say I moved out of her comfort zone.

Yet, the next day I walked again around her camp and she did not even take note of me she just went under a bush and stretched herself out and made herself comfortable and took a snooze!

Food they still enjoy and Murray the Vet always visits them and he would advise when we must increase or decrease.  

- Most of the time both Jools and Jerry sit next to the fence line looking towards Shada’s direction. They don’t seem to be as bothered by us walking around their enclosure and Jerry no longer follows us as much as he used to.

Even with guests these guys often don’t bother to check them out, yet they used to be very wary of strangers. We once saw them sitting in front of the guests’ viewing deck and both cats were sleeping. Both of them were sleeping with their backs facing us and Jools was sleeping between Jerry’s forearms.   At one point Jerry tried to move but Jools was lying on his forearm so he went back to sleep.

Photo - BFF /Shamwari

Bongani: She has been spending more time at the bottom of her enclosure around the water trough or just sitting next to the gate watching Brutus or Kuma. It looks like the 2Js don’t interest her at the moment, although sometimes she watches them when they are sleeping or not watching her. Sometimes she watches us when we feed the cubs and walks down to the bottom right corner of her enclosure; she would wait there until we finish feeding. She got a bit wary of us, having to be darted so much for her dental treatment, but now she is more confident again and doesn’t run away from us when we approach her.

Bongani: The old man has been staying away from our view and sometimes leaving us worried. Just the other day we only saw him in the morning and it was very hot in the afternoon so he was nowhere to be found. Unfortunately the same thing happened the following day but this time the morning was warm with hot air blowing and we tried again to find this chap but he was hiding. Usually when he is not visible we get to hear him calling but this day he was so silent that we decided to do operation FIND HIM. We tried calling him while we were walking around his enclosure but nothing came out of that. After about an hour of sweating in the hot day we decided to walk back to the centre. I asked Luthando to walk in front and I would wait just to see if Kuma would come out after he has left. Unfortunately while Luthando was walking down between Shada and Kuma’s camp he slipped and rolled down the hill. Both Kuma and Shada came out to see what was happening.  We were so excited to see Kuma that we didn’t notice the thorns on Luthando’s hand and leg side. Kuma sniffed him for a couple of seconds and returned to where he had been hiding.. We were about to sit down when I heard Luthando yelling looking at his hands. It was only then that we noticed the thorns he was carrying the whole time. We sat there laughing as I was pulling and sometimes pushing the thorn in instead of pulling them out. Perhaps this is a way to find Kuma on the days he wants to remain hidden!

Glen: On certain days Kuma looks fatter than others.  Maybe he kills some small animals that go into the camp at night.  Otherwise he is on 5kg meat twice a week.  I must say Kuma looks great and more relaxed then ever. I remember when he was at the Julie Ward Centre he used to pace a lot, this new area has done him well.

lions - BFF/ Shamwari
Marina (left) and Sarnia (right) – togetherness

Sarnia and Marina
Bongani: The girls spend most of their time at the back of their enclosure, making it difficult for the guests to see them sometimes, without using binoculars.

Feeding - Glen: the girls have grown, they are so big and they look so mischievous!  On one occasion I was with Bongani while he was feeding them and I think it was Marina that ate her portion as fast as she could and then went to take Sarnia’s, luckily it was just a piece of liver and not the 2kg that they get daily.  So, I instructed Bongani to separate them.  Now Marina knows she gets fed in the hospital camp and Sarnia in the main camp. Brutus
Bongani: The big boy is usually to be found in the front corner of his camp, watching the coming and going of people at the visitor centre, rather than staying hidden in the undergrowth like most of the other cats prefer.
Glen: Brutus looks great, Murray said we could increase his food by three kg’s. So he now gets 13kg of meat twice a week, total of 26kg a week.

See our wildlife prints for a limted edition print of Sarnia and Marina

September update from the Julie Ward Centre

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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