Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Jean Byrd Centre Diary Jan 2011

Written by Martin Miritiawo

BRUTUS, our lion rescued from a French circus in 2008 and Marina, our young lioness rescued from Romania as a cub in 2008.

Brutus and Marina are doing very well together, the relationship between them is well established. I’ve just noticed that they like to walk side by side and when Marina is shut in the hospital camp for feeding, they will sometimes sniff each other through the fence.

Brutus is not as active as Marina!  He usually spends most of his time relaxing near the bottom of enclosure and observing what’s happening around him. He and Marina are seen lying close to each other most of the time.

Marina can be naughty sometimes, recently she turned the water trough in the hospital camp upside down and dragged it to the other side of the camp.

Murray, our vet, came on the 27th of January to implant Marina with a contraceptive. The weather was fine, it was cloudy and cool. She was darted and checked and the implant inserted. Students from World Wide Experience where present while Murray was working on Marina and some students helped by picking up the bones left over from feeding in the hospital camp. We all waited until Marina regained consciousness. Glen, Sidney and I remained behind to make sure she was 100%. Headman had taken a day off due to family responsibility.

Shada – our lioness rescued from a French circus in 2006

She is looking good, she has lost a bit of weight and the vets confirmed that she is healthy. She is more active these days and likes stalking at us! The only time she enters the hospital camp is during feeding when she wants her food. She normally grabs the food and goes out to eat in the main camp.  She prefers the main camp to the hospital camp. Every time we feed, she takes her food and hides it in the bushes to enjoy it later. She still follows the vehicle and when it’s gone that’s when she will go back to eat her food, or if it is hot she will wait until the cool of the evening before eating.

Kuma – our leopard rescued from Abidjan Zoo, Ivory Coast in 1999

Kuma appears relaxed and comfortable in his enclosure and sometimes he would fall asleep while we stand there looking at him. He has got trust in us and we like him too. He eats his food eagerly.  He is not showing much interest towards the leopards next door, he just marks his territory and goes back to the top of the camp. Sometimes if I do not see him during fence check I don’t get worried because I usually hear him rasping early in the morning.

Jools and Jerry – our lions rescued from Buhusi Zoo in Romania in 2007

Sleeping a lot is what they enjoy most these days. When it’s a bit cooler they prefer to sleep in an open area in the middle of the main enclosure. Jools likes to sleep facing upwards while Jerry sleeps on his side. They are both doing well, no stealing food from each other.  After getting food they go their separate ways to enjoy their meals.  When done they get back together again.

Leda and her daughters Roxanni and Rhea  - our leopard family, rescued from Limassol Zoo.  They arrived at Shamwari on 1st June, 2009

Roxanni was off her food on the afternoon of 14th of January.  Headman and I tried by all means to persuade her to take her food without success. And to us it was very strange to see her in that state, she did not even want to stand, she was just sitting under a bush. I reported to Christine immediately, Glen was off duty. Within the next hour Murray, our vet, arrived to check on her but since it was getting dark nothing much could not be done, we left a piece of meat for her to see if she would take it. Unfortunately she did not touch it. Murry darted her on the 15th    with the help of Headman and Bruce and took her to Amanzi, our veterinary centre, for further examination. She was at Amanzi for two weeks. Reports showed that she was doing well, taking her food and drinking water. She came back on the 28th and at the moment she is in the hospital camp and she is taking her food very well. We are still observing her closely on daily basis.

We have put Roxanni in her sister’s middle enclosure, and Rhea has gone to Roxanni’s camp.  The middle enclosure is more open in the main camp, with not so many thick bushes so once we get permission to let her go back into the main enclosure, we will be able to monitor her more easily. * See BFF update below.

Rhea – she is doing fine in the top enclosure, but she still likes to hang around the hospital camp.  After eating, when she is full, she likes to go and sleep at the top of the enclosure where the thick bushes provide her with plenty of cover. She really likes her sister more than the mother but Roxanne doesn’t seem to return Rhea’s interest.

Leda is doing absolutely fine, she likes to hang around the bottom fence line in the morning especially when it’s not too hot. And during feeding she likes the hospital camp too. There is a little bit of interaction between her and Roxanne. She goes and sits close to Roxanne’s enclosure looking at her. This is only early days yet, as she has only just been moved next door to her other daughter, but we will see what is going to happen.

*10TH February 2009 - UPDATE

We have very sad news to report - Roxanni has died.  As Martin reports, on 28th January, Roxanni was returned to her hospital camp at the Jean Byrd Centre, after responding well to treatment at the veterinary centre. 

Roxanni appeared fine, eating well and seemingly back to normal.  On 5th February she was allowed back into her main enclosure.  On Monday 7th, feed day, she wanted her meat and ate as usual.  On the morning of Wed 9th she seemed fine when Martin checked the electric fences on her enclosure, then on Wednesday afternoon, it was feed time again and all the lions and leopards  came out to get their meat as soon as they heard the vehicle arrive, but Roxanni did not appear.  Two members of our team drove into her enclosure, fearing the worst, and found her dead.  The post mortem shows she had died of a heart attack.   Roxanni came to us from Limassol Zoo with health issues, but she had done well at Shamwari.  The first indication of ill-health was when she went off her food on 14th January, as reported above.

Roxanni is buried at the Jean Byrd Centre.

Message from Lauren St John, author and supporter of the Born Free Foundation, who helped rescue the Limassol leopards: “I’m heartbroken about little Roxanni, but I'm as sad for everyone at Born Free because you all worked so hard to make her freedom possible. At the same time, I feel incredibly fortunate to have seen her in November and to have witnessed first hand the incredible transformation in her. She was so peaceful and contented. She died happy and for that reason I think you should all be proud. You gave her nearly two wonderful years.”

Roxanni, sitting up and her mother Leda in Limassol Zoo. The only greenery in their enclosure was painted on the walls of their cage
Ronanni (front) and Rhea at the rescue centre in Shamwari
Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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