Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Jean Byrd Centre - Diary January 2012

Compiled by Martin Miritiawo


Students at Shamwari
In this photo - Wynn Force, Martin and students from Conservation Academy

It feels good to be back at the Jean Byrd Centre to be with the amazing cats after such a long holiday. I had a wonderful time with friends and family back home.

I started work in a joyful mood seeing all the cats enjoying good health; they also seem to have missed my presence. The picture above was taken after a beautiful tour with students from Conservation Academy, the guys really made my day. Sidney and I did what we could to give them a wonderful experience.  Unfortunately Headman was off sick that day. And to be joined by Glen a bit later as he was busy with weekly meetings. Thanks Glen for the opportunity to meet wonderful people.

Shada - rescued from a French circus in 2006

Shada - photo BFF/Shamwari
Shada sitting close to the viewing deck enjoying light showers in the afternoon

I hope the picture looks ok as here the weather conditions were not favorable. It was a bit drizzling when I took this photo using my mobile phone and Shada seems to be enjoying it in the rain as she was sitting quietly in the open space close to the fence. My presence didn’t pose a threat as she carried on with her normal activities.  These days she is even comfortable with guests’ presence, she doesn’t walk away from the vicinity of the viewing deck.

At times she is difficult to read though, but we love her very much. Interaction between her and Brutus and Marina next door is very limited, she prefers to keep to herself.

Brutus, rescued from a French circus in 2008, and Marina, rescued from Romania, also in 2008

As usual these two enjoy each others company. Although sometimes Marina bosses Brutus around, but when he gets enough of her you will hear him uttering a low growl in order to warn her to stop penetrating his private space.

And she really seems to hear him loud and clear, she will turn and flee. Recently their water trough in the main camp was empty and I am suspecting that Marina might be responsible, I think she is at it again, scooping water out of the trough. Maybe I am wrong, but I didn’t see a leakage after filling it up. She can be naughty sometimes. See their photo below also taken from a mobile phone. They look great together - isn’t it so?

Brutus and Marina - Photo BFF/ Shamwari
Lovely photo Brutus and Marina sitting together close to the hospital camps

Kuma – rescued from Abidjan Zoo, Ivory Coast, 1999

Handsome Kuma flicking his tail - Photo BFF/Shamwari
Handsome Kuma flicking his tail

Kuma is doing exceptionally well, but when it comes to food he is not happy with what he gets. He always wants more, he grabs his food, hides it in a bush and come back for some more. I really don’t know what he is up to these days, but otherwise he is great!

His movements are also limited, he is not very active during the day due warm temperatures, but at night he does rasp which gives me a rough idea where he is, either at the bottom or at the top of his enclosure.

Leda and her daughter Rhea – rescued from Limassol Zoo in Greece in 2009

The relationship between Leda and Rhea seems to be non-existent. I hardly ever see them interact or hear them calling each other. They are both content with the privacy each have. The old mum is doing well it is really unbelievable that she is well advanced in years the way how she carries herself, confident and active always. It is always a wonderful thing seeing her exploring her boundaries raising her tail up.

I like her a lot, it’s like she doesn’t experience discomfort or threat due to our presence. Rhea’s moods changes from one day to the next and may not necessarily be in the same frame of mind the following day. Taking photos of her is not an easy task, it depends on her mood, sometimes she will disappear before you even get close to her. The other day she was nice and approachable, it’s like hide and seek, but I do enjoy the challenge. See Rhea’s photo below, she was in her hospital camp.

Leda relaxing in her main camp - Photo BFF/Shamwari
Leda relaxing in her main camp
Rhea in her hospital camp - Photo BFF / Shamwari
Rhea in her hospital camp

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

Jools and Jerry Photo BFF/Shamwari
Jools and Jerry ( Jerry enjoying his sleep)

Jerry really loves playing and the attention from his mother. I saw him one day chasing her around. At first the mother didn’t want to comply with his demands to play but he kept on insisting and eventually she gave in. The play didn’t last for long, I think he just wanted a response from his mum.

More about Sinbad, the leopard triplets and the other big cats at the Julie Ward Centre >

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

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