Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Jean Byrd Centre blog

August 2017

Written by Headman  Matyumza and Kelvin Buys

Hello everyone

A warm greeting from us at the Jean Byrd Centre.  We are doing great, hope it is likewise with you.  It’s been a very busy month with high season starting and all. We got a visit from many Shamwari Conservation volunteers.  I must say we had a lot of fun with them.

Then the cherry on the cake: the big bull elephant came to pay us another visit. It’s always nice to see him but this time he had a water splash party with one of our water tanks, and was splashing mud against our walls.  Luckily, he doesn’t go to our camps and doesn’t bother our cats.  Everything has now been cleaned up and we are good.

Our rescued lions and leopards:

Ciam, confiscated from  a private owner in France where he was being kept illegally as a pet in a tiny garden.  He arrived at Shamwari in May 2017.


Our boy is doing great.

He loves to jump on the shelter in the main camp and look over the reserve, while his favourite place in the morning is close to his water trough.  Later he would go to a bush close to the release gate in the main camp to take a nap. He takes his meat very well and does not want to be bothered when eating. He is a good boy and our guests love him.  The students came to help with the cleaning so we shut him in the hospital camp so we can clean in the main camp. We feed him in the hospital camp too, so we can monitor him, then let him out into the main camp when he is finished. 

Leda and her daughter Rhea, rescued from Limassol Zoo in Cyprus in June 2009

Leopard Leda
Leopard Rhea

Leda and Rhea are doing great and both eat very well.

Leda has a favourite place she likes to sleep: under a bush in the corner of her main camp close to the viewing deck, although on hot days she prefers the shelter in her hospital camp.  When she is in her hospital camp she has a better view of Ciam next door and we see her looking at him.   

Rhea is spending most of her time at the top of her main camp. She eats her food inside her shelter in the hospital camp and finishes all of it, so her teeth are still very strong, even though she is 19 years old.  She is still very active and loves to patrol her main camp.

Queen, from a lion-breeding farm. She arrived at Shamwari in April 2015.


Queen is doing amazingly well.  She is always close to her shelter in the main camp so our guests see her a lot.  She is a big lioness and some of the guests have said she looks like a polar bear. She eats her meat in the hospital camp and when we sure she is done eating, we open for her so she can come to her main camp. She is relaxed now with Jora and Black next door, having been nervous of them initially. They communicate a lot with each other in the morning with loud and beautiful roars. So, our girl is thriving and going strong.

Jora and Black, rescued from a Bulgarian circus in September 2015, when circuses were made illegal in Bulgaria.

Jora, left, and Black
Jora, left, and Black

They boys are doing good and they are taking their food very well. They like to spend their time at the back of their hospital camp under the bushes away from the heat of the sun. Many of our guests think Black is the most beautiful one, with his magnificent dark mane.  We still separate them during feeding time and they are always so happy to be reunited.

Shada, rescued from a French circus and arrived at Shamwari in November 2006


Shada is in good shape and she taking her food very well. In the morning, she like to be close to the viewing deck lying on her back, changing position when the sun becomes too hot, then she moves to sleep under a tree close to the release gate.  She is a relaxed lion.

The Julie Ward Centre Diary >

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

Share | |