Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Julie Ward Centre Diary Jan 2011

Written by Glen Vena

All is been going well and our cats are looking good.  Since the sad death of Pitou, our leopard rehomed from Monaco Zoo, it is still worrying for those of us who care for the cats, that you could come to work and one of them might not be with us any more, as happened to me with Pitou.  Most of our cats have been here with us for a long time and many are getting elderly so this is always on our minds. Most difficult part is how to deal with it and to move on.

I had a very interesting visitor from Australia and her name is Vanessa Russell.  Vanessa is an adoptive parent to our rescued cats and I spent the whole day with her and I learnt to appreciate even the smallest thing in life as it is very short. Vanessa Russell, she is a woman with a big heart and a spirit like a lioness, never giving up, whatever life throws at you.

Glen and visitor

We travelled all the way from the Paxton Hotel in Port Elizabeth to the Reserve, and we started our morning with a visit to the cats at the Julie ward Centre.  Here Vanessa met all our cats; she loved the triplets and Sinbad and was very impressed with the workmanship that was done to build Aslan and Stella’s new hospital quarters and camp.

We then went on a visit to the Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC) of Shamwari Game Reserve. There again we met all the animals that will soon be going back to the wild and here human contacted is very limited and on some occasions we had to look at the animals through peeping holes (that’s what we call them, you all might have a different name).

Then  lunch at Long Lee Manor. We had a great time and Matt our Manager was a really great host with his staff and that is what Vanessa said too.

After that we finished with a visit to the Jean Byrd Centre.  By now it was 3pm in the afternoon.   Vanessa loved the cats there too, and the only one she didn’t see was Kuma as he was a bit shy of the Avis Kombi that I was driving at the time. Then by 4.30pm we were on our way back to PE and Vanessa said it was nice being so fussed over.   Well all supporters get that treatment here and it is out of my heart.   I’m hoping to see Vanessa again soon when she comes over to South Africa.


I see him only during feeding otherwise he makes use of the bushes in his camp; he is very shy and loves his privacy.   


Sinbad has been very private too, lately.  He is okay though, I think he just wants his privacy sometimes like any other person would do. He still loves his food, and gets very protective over it, he will growl, mark his turf.  Other times he is very sweet and gentle, rolling around and sleeping on his back, all relaxed.  He is still The Man, guests love him to bits!

ACHEE AND MA JUAH – our lionesses with nutritional osteodystrophy from their poor early diets; Achee from a private home in romania and Ma Juah from a private zoo in liberia.

Girls are looking good, very relaxed. Ma Juah worried me the other day: during feeding she took a while before she came for her food, apparently she was at the bottom of the camp close to the platform where she sleeping.  I walked round the perimeter of the camp, trying to find her, and I didn’t notice she was following me! I was so close to calling Johan, our vet.  Then, Achee roared at the top of their camp, close to their hospital quarters and MJ roared right behind me – what a relief.  I gave her the food which she took immediately, and went off into the bushes to eat.  All good then, phewww!

LEOPARD TRIPLETS – found motherless in the Sudan

Alam, Sami and Nimira, they are always out and about.  They are starting to look really good with their on-going diet, even I can start seeing a difference in them.  Guests love them and they always put a smile on the kids’ faces, I really hope all the guests and school kids get the message behind what we are doing.  I try hard to make this clear, in the talks I give.

These photos of Sami and Nimira, were taken by one of our supporters, Gill Greaves, on her recent visit.

and Sami

ASLAN AND STELLA – our elderly lions rescued from Greek zoos

They are doing very well, eating well, and look great too. They are still enjoying their new hospital camps, so for me that is great news.  It is so much easier to manage them and to monitor their food in-take – especially important if the animals are elderly.  Johan and Murray, our vets, visited them along with our other cats and they both think Asland and Stella are looking well.  This is really good news to me, fingers crossed that all goes okay from here on.  I know our hot summers are hard on our elderly cats.

(I’m sorry I haven’t had time to take photos for this blog.  I will put in new pictures in February blog, keeping everyone in anticipation!  Glen )

You can help with the care of our rescued cats by adopting them here >

Read about the Jean Byrd Centre cats here >

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

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