Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Julie Ward Centre August/Sept 08

By Glen Vena

I have just come back from three weeks leave and Dan reports that all was good with Sinbad and that he is in good condition, I was very happy to hear this but I just wanted to get out there and see him for myself. So I asked Dan to let us go outside and do the fence patrol and he can tell me every thing as we are seeing the cats.

Well I saw Sinbad and he looks magnificent!   When we arrived at his camp I saw that beautiful mane of his sticking out behind a Spekboom bush. So I called out to him like a sailor would do when greeting a fellow sailor! “Ahoy Sinbad”. I went on calling him but he did not come out to us, but he did give me a growl and Dan started to giggle next to me and he said to me “Forget it Glen, you not gonna get him out of that bush as he has his bone there and he so devoted to it he doesn’t leave it unattended not even for you.”  Well, I said to Sinbad thanks for the growl pal and we slowly walked away. As we walking around the camp checking his fence we saw Sinbad coming behind us and this was so funny to see as he had this bone in his mouth and it was about 50cm long. As soon as we looked back he took cover behind a Needle bush, once again I just saw his mane. Dan advised that if we walk on, Sinbad will follow.  He said he noticed this while I was on leave.  Apparently Vuyo  came by to see him and Sinbad loved seeing Vuyo.  He was rolling around and making the sounds that the triplets make like a meowing sound. However as soon as Vuyo had to leave and said his good bye to him he started to follow him. You see all, when Sinbad came to Shamwari for the first time Vuyo was the first one to stay with him and spend time with him after that long journey he had all the way from Romania. During that time they bonded very well and he will never forget Vuyo, same for Vuyo he really misses the cats at our sanctuary. Even now that he is a ranger he will always visit. Just shows how much the cats grow on you if you are really dedicated to them, always a soft spot for them.

After that visit, Dan says as soon as you turn you back on him and you walk away he will follow slowly and as soon as you look back he will just sit and look around, I hope he doesn’t think he will see Vuyo.

Sinbad doesn’t show any aggression towards us at any time.  If Aslan followed you your hair would stand up on your body. With Sinbad it is not like that, however he is still a wild animal and this we know so we never drop our guard.

Food: Dan say that Sinbad never leaves anything, he finishes his food all the time and he looks great.
On warm days he is a bit slow; he does not seem to cope well with the heat and this we know at Shamwari and Murray (Dr. Stokoe) will always come and check on him without Dan calling him.   We are still in early spring, on some days it can be cold and temperature can be as low as 18C and then it can be hot and temperature can be in the 30°C and on some days we can have lightning and thunder! This is not Sinbad’s weather. He will be under a bush keeping cool and close to the water trough, if there is lighenting Dan reports that he will be in the mini boma sitting close to the door looking out, so he is not afraid; he just loves to keep dry.

Pitou and Sirius
These two leopards are doing very well and look great. Well Pitou doesn’t mind seeing people, however Sirius he just runs away as soon as he sees people or he hears them coming. So most of the time guests only see Pitou.
During fence patrols we will see Sirius and he looks good but he would hide after he sees us and he really blends well with the bushes around him.

Food: during feeding we will see both, but Sirius will never come and get his food while we are there.
Dan has a system with him of finding him and it works between them and Sirius is comfortable around Dan. Pitou was nervous in the beginning too, however she has settled in nicely and she will allow all the animal care team to approach her as long as you do it with extra care, she will not run away or growl at you. I must say she can stand her ground if she wants. This I have seen with my own eyes. She is wild too!

I’m still keeping an eye on them and all is well at this stage. They are not trying to fight each other and they do not take each others food.

Still not sure about mating! We have not seen them doing this or trying to mate. Normally cats in the wild never get as old as this as it is always the survival of the fittest. So, at both age 16 years I am not sure if we should still expect them to be mating or not.  They were not seen mating in the zoo, but the conditions are more natural here, and it may spark of some instinctive behaviours.

Achee in the sun

Ma Juah and Achee
The girls, as we call them, they are also doing very well and look good

The guests are usually are lucky enough in seeing Achee says Dan, perhaps drinking water or looking for Sinbad.
MJ will be in the background and you will only see her head from the viewing deck,

Food: they eat well says Dan and will eat more if you give them more. Never aggressive during feeding time nor when they eating. You can feed them together and each will just take their portions and go their own ways, but there is a catch! Achee must take first, if not all hell breaks loose!

After not seeing them for three weeks they look as if they have lost a bit of weight and they look good. Dan did report that they are spending less time in front of the visitor’s viewing deck and he did not see them looking at Sinbad, maybe they only come down to him when they are in season, reports Dan to me.

photo BFF/ Shamwari
Handsome Aslan

Aslan and Stella
I think Aslan he looks gorgeous, even though at 19 years old he is quite an elderly lion.

On warm days you will never see Aslan and Stella, they remain hidden in the shade.  If guests do see them they always leave with a smile as Aslan can be very vocal!

Triplets, Sami, Alam and Nimira
These three leopards are doing very well and are starting to loose weight and look great, although they still don’t like to be on this new eating plan and will ask for more food.

Otherwise when we feed Sami, he still gets his food in the hospital camp as he is very naughty and will take Alam’s food!

Talking about food: this they love and never leave any behind. We make sure all eats their own portions.

General behavior is normal and as mischievous as can be especially that Alam, he might be a gentleman but he has his dark side!

August/September at the Jean Byrd Centre

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

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