Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild




CIAM - Ciam is nearly three years old; he was born in a circus; kept illegally in a garden in France; confiscated thanks to the efforts of Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis, and given refuge at the Natuurhulpcentrum sanctuary in Belgium.  He arrived at Shamwari Reserve on 5th May

I have been busy at the Julie Ward Centre in the south of the reserve the last couple of days, and before that I was off-duty, so I had not been up to see my young friend Ciam at the Jean Byrd Centre in the north recently.  

When I arrived at the JB Centre Ciam was under his deck, enjoying the mid-morning autumn sun. I was driving our Land Rover Defender and he clearly realised it was bringing some lovely goods to him. He got so excited and he could not wait ‘til I was done feeding our leopards, Leda and Rhea, in the next door camp. He was up and down the fence line and at some time he would stand on his hind legs to have a better view of us, he made me giggle!

I must say, having not seen him for a few days, he has settled in very well by the look of things, and I don’t have any concerns. He looks handsome and full of life, and is as fit as a wild lion.  

Here are some pictures that I have taken of him during the visit and I stayed up there for quite a bit (two hours) and it was really worth it. The photos were taken in a bit of a rush, as I was not wanting to upset him while he was busy with his food.

He got a real treat, he got a whole piece of offal for himself and he was not shy, he did what lions are good at, grabbed his prize, dropped it again, licked his lips that were very bloody after that first bite he took. I think he was tasting it. He then grabbed it again and ran to a bush-like tree that he had made his favourite spot. At one stage he wanted to put all of his body in that bush and hide himself while he was eating, but he is a big boy so could not fit, so he just lay there and looked around.  Now and then he would have a bite and swallow.

Enjoy the photos!

Ciam close up with some good old lion drool
Ciam close up with some good old lion drool
Looking at the Defender hoping to get more food
Looking at the Defender hoping to get more food
Walking away with his offal
Walking away with his offal
Could not go into the bush, not sure what he was thinking, but at the end he did the next best thing, he just lay down and started enjoying his food
Could not go into the bush, not sure what he was thinking, but at the end he did the next best thing, he just lay down and started enjoying his food

NELSON - Nelson was rescued from Parc Zoologique du Bouy, France, in April 2015 by Fondation 30 Millions d'Amis when the zoo fell into liquidation and the owner was arrested for wildlife trafficking. He was also living in temporary care at the Natuurhulpcentrum rescue centre (NHC). Nelson is 17 years old.

Nelson looks great too, however he is going to take a bit more time to get used to his new home. Please don’t get me wrong, I think he likes everything about his enclosure, he is just taking his time to get to know it. 

I’m pleased to report that he eats very well and I have never seen a lion that can clean bones out like that. I’m planning to treat them both as soon as I get a road kill, I would love to see what they will do with a full, medium-sized carcass.  It will be my welcome to Africa to the boys. 

Nelson seems to love his hospital camp and his little house where he feels kind of safe I guess, but he still goes out to the main camp and he would explore it slowly and where he gets a nice spot where the autumn sun is shining he would sit there and relax.  However, as he hears a sound or other lions calling he would slowly take off to his safe spot.  He will do this looking around, also calling a little bit and making those calling–meowing sounds. He does not look scared or uncomfortable at all. He is just being him. 

Yesterday (14th) he was in his main camp, scent-marking and he was even in front of the deck where the viewing deck for our guests is located.  So, at 0840 I was doing a tour of our sanctuary and I decided to take my guests to this viewing deck.  He looked beautiful, he just sat there and looked at everyone, then walked a bit and sat in a different spot where he could look at us properly.  Our guests loved him.   

See these pictures…

Nelson in his hospital camp, relaxed in the morning sun

17.5.17 - Nelson roaring, clearly more relaxed in his new home. Thanks for this Catherine! (Catherine Gillson, Born Free Centre Manager)


Nelson in his main camp.

So for now all is well :) 

Born Free would like to thank the Olsen Animal Trust for their commitment to funding lifetime care for Nelson and Ciam, along with a private donor.

You can help Born Free with future rescues here

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

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