Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild


MARCH 2017


Hello to all, we slowly moving into Autumn this side of the world; we can see how the weather is changing, bit by bit, and we can see how busy the ants are getting, working hard and collecting as much as they can to take them through the winter that will soon be upon us.  

Here is the latest on our rescued lions and leopards.

Achee and Sinbad.  Achee was rehomed from a private owner in Romania in September 2004, and Sinbad was rescued from a run-down Romanian zoo in August 2007

Achee and Sinbad are really good with each other and are an effective couple.  This has been long overdue – they were introduced to each other in June 2015.  Everyone deserves to be happy, and happy they are together, and the best part of this is that we left them to it and they did it all on their own terms.  Their relationship is new but very strong and I do hope it is one of those where only death will be the separator.  Indeed, a life worth livin.

Sinbad Achhe

I got this picture of Achee sleeping on her side with her one paw up.  She was snoring and was in a very deep sleep with her little teeth showing too.  J  It is just amazing how they have become so trusting of each other; in the beginning she would never have slept like that.  And look at Sinbad looking at me, I think he is the quietest lion we have, and that I care for, how lucky am I.

Jerry, Maggie and Sonja.  Jerry was rescued from a closed-down zoo in Romania in  August 2007, and Maggie and Sonja were rescued from a German circus and arrived at Shamwari January 2015

These three they need no introduction here at Shamwari, I think they are becoming everyone’s favourite and man, when they roar together they do make you stand still and look at them.  They own that moment, and the sound would travel across the cliffs and valleys of the reserve and from a distance we can hear the Shamwari wild lions roaring, answering their calls.  Man, how I would like to hear what they are saying, but hey who knows, perhaps in our next life we will understand more than we know now.

These three beautiful cats, they are thriving here and it’s as if they have been together for years.

I’m sure for Jerry it must be a big comfort after losing his brother so soon, back in August 2008, and to lose his mum (in 2014) at a time he probably needed her so much, so all confusing then, but I’m sure that emptiness he had is closing slowly and he is moving on nicely in his own way.

We can see in his behaviour he is so relaxed with the girls and the girls with him. However, I have to say to you all he does not appreciate small places and he does not want to stay long too long in the hospital camp.  During feeding in his area we have these metal gates that we have to shut to make sure are we safe and that he is safely enclosed too, but I think the noise the gates make does aggravate him and thus he becomes aggressive with us.  It is only during feeding.  Or, it could be the smell of food and him being too impatient to wait till we have everything in place where it should be. But that does not matter for now… when he is the main camp he is very relaxed and he is the King.

  • Maggie Jerry Sonja

Leopard Triplets, Sami, Alam and NimiraThey arrived as cubs in July 2001

Aah, they are so lovely!  We do not get to see them every day with our guests who visit the centre, but when they are out they would take the guests’ breath away with their beauty and elegance. So, after all the years here with us they are still thriving here in their natural enclosures and life is good.

I have noted that after cleaning their hospital camps, they cannot wait until we are out, so that they can get their little (not so little!) paws inside, and smell and re-mark the house with their urine.  This means more work for Martin and me, but hey, we forgive them!  I guess putting their scents back in their hospital camp is great stimulation for them.

Sami and Alam

This is not a great picture of the boys (Sami and Alam), taken not far from the viewing deck.  It was early in the morning and I was doing my fence walk and I saw them doing their own stuff too. Nimira was further back in the main enclosure, I think she had a mouse in her mouth, but she just took off into the thickets where I could not see her anymore.  It is great to see them doing natural things and catching a poor mouse now and then.

Brutus and Marina
Brutus was rescued from a French circus and Marina came from Romania as a cub; we think she was bred as a photo prop.  They both arrived April 2008

They are so good with each other, they look “fab” too.  We all know that Brutus has this on-going limp in his front left paw, so soon Johan our vet will be darting him again to see what can we do for him and at the same time do a good health check on him while he is asleep.

Other than that, they are both well and love the way Marina handles herself around him, she is so sensitive and gentle around him, but the other day I saw her playing with him and she was running around and she was trying to say to him chase me Brutus, chase me!

Brutus and Marina
Selfie of Glen



Check out this great selfie of me!  I was lucky enough to spend a few minutes with the Shamwari fencing crew.  They are the people who do not get seen by many, the people who keep us safe, making sure our fences are up and the electricity is running at all times, making sure our animals are within the safe zones at all times. A great team they are, and I learned a lesson or two from them about fences.

They helped me with my BFF perimeter fence to locate some faults that I could not sort out on my own. So, we had to walk the whole fence line on the outside and it was great fun, amazing what we saw while walking, lion spoor, jackal, hyena and we even saw elephants from a distance who where en route to the river to cool down. Long story short we managed to get the BFF fence up and all was in order. That fence makes sure that all the wild cats do not wander into our BFF area where we walk with kids and guests. Must say after that walk all my muscles was sore in my body and they made me carry all the heavy stuff, I had a great laugh though!

Our Land Rover Defender was also out of action for most of March, on the 16th she went in to the dealer as we had a few concerns with her that needed their attention. 

Land Rover
Our Defender just before she went in, always at work, here we cleaning our cats’ enclosures and loading all the dirt on her…
no canned hunting

I saw this sticker on a guest’s car who came to visit our centre, #RESPECT

Anyway, to end, as always it is so lovely to meet all the visitors who come from different walks of life to visit our centres here at Shamwari Reserve.  We do hope that the work we do touches you all deeply and that you will spread the word to family and friends that no animal should be kept behind bars or in a big artificial pool or in any captive place for our amusement.  Thank you for helping us keeping wildlife wild and at the same time conserving a vanishing way of life.


Jean Byrd Centre Diary

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

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