Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Julie Ward Centre Blog

August 2017

Written by Martin Miritiawo

Hello everyone, hope you’re all doing well. I can’t believe we are almost through with 2017!

My colleague Glen who usually writes these blogs is on annual leave and won’t be back until the beginning of September.  So, it’s my pleasure to share with you the experience that we get each day from working with the big cats and the feedback we get from the people we take around our centres.

I had the pleasure of taking a group of Shamwari Conservation Experience students on a tour of our Julie Ward Centre, sharing with them information about the Born Free Foundation; big cats in captivity and nature conservation in general. One of the  students sent me an email afterwards saying that while he may have come across as uninterested at the time, after finding out what had happened to the rescued lions and leopards his perspective changed. Below is an extract from his email; “Looking back I'm happy that the lions at Born Free have such a better, happier life and I greatly admire the fantastic work you do. Your talk was very enlightening and I should hate you to think I was unappreciative of it.  Thank you for everything.”

It’s such a gratifying feeling each day when the sun sets to know that I have touched minds, and I have helped shape the world.

Well, I guess it’s enough, now it’s time to update you on how our cats are doing at Julie Ward Centre.

Nelson, rescued from a zoo in France.  He arrived at Shamwari on 5th May, 2017

Nelson is a beautiful lion and he looks very well.

His behaviour can change in a moment. I have seen him many times come and sit close to the fence next to us during a fence check and he seems to enjoy our company, but the moment he sees a vehicle with food nearby, he gets aggressive.  Well, all the lions react in a different way when there is food, I guess he just being himself.  We happy with his eating habits, he never leaves anything behind, whatever you give him he will finish all.

We are very happy too that we are seeing more of him; we see him even when we are accompanied with our guests. He will be sitting close to Achee and Sinbad’s fence then when he hears voices on the viewing deck he will come over and rub himself against the branches, rake the ground with his hind legs and start roaring.  He has a powerful roar!

Nelson the lion1

Nelso the lion2

Achee and Sinbad. Achee was rehomed from a private owner in Romania in September 2004; Sinbad was rescued from a Romanian zoo in August 2007

These two are doing really well and they follow each other most of the time.  They are active during the morning and afternoon but during the day they sleep a lot, usually beside each other.  We feed them in the hospital camp and they seem to be quite happy with this. Sinbad is still protective of his food, he will growl and cover his meat with both paws.   Achee takes her food inside the house and enjoys it in private.

Achee and Sinbad
Achee and Sinbad

Jerry, Maggie and Sonja.  Jerry was rescued from Buhusi Zoo in Romania in August 2007; Maggie and Sonja were rescued from a German circus and arrived at Shamwari in January 2015.

They are doing well together, no fighting over food. Maggie and Sonja get excited when they see a vehicle with food at the hospital camp.  However, one thing I like about them is that they are relaxed, no pacing, both wait patiently for their food to be placed in the hospital camp and the gates to be opened for them. Well, Jerry takes his time to come and get his food.  Usually he and Sinbad are busy sizing each other up on either side of the fence that divides them.

Sonja far left, Maggie and Jerry
Sonja far left, Maggie and Jerry

Sami and Alam, found as motherless cubs in Sudan. They arrived at Shamwari in July 2001.

Sami in front and Alam at the back
Sami in front and Alam at the back

Sami really loves attention, he gets excited when there are guests around.  He usually comes down to the viewing deck, moving around the viewing deck area, marking his territory and mewing sometimes.

He and Alam are still playful.  If Sami is lying on his back sleeping, Alam will come and lay on his belly and they will playfight, with each other, and snarl in a playful way. They also groom each other, which strengthens the bond between them and it is beautiful to see.

The Jean Byrd Centre Diary >

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

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