Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Jean Byrd Centre Diary Jan '18


Written by Headman Matyumza and Kelvin Buys.

Hello everyone,

A warm greeting from us and the cats at the Jean Byrd centre. It has been a fairly quiet month for me here. Visitors at the centre this month really appreciated every effort to give these cats a free life again.

It is summer here, and we have experienced very high temperatures. Later in the month we had some rain and now it’s nice and green, our dams are full and the river is flowing nicely.

We had the sad news at the end of January, when Shada passed away. May her soul rest in peace.

Cats report


Ciam was confiscated from a private owner in France and arrived at Shamwari in May 2017.

The young boy is doing excellently. He is a growing boy with a big appetite.

In the mornings he likes to chill on top of his platform, lying on his back with his legs up in the air. Sometimes I see him sharpening his claws against the poles. When it starts to get warm he gets down and sleeps in the shade under a tree, close to the water trough or behind his platform. Visitors to our education centre are often surprised to see such a young male lion with a beautiful big mane and big paws. Sometimes when Queen is roaring, Ciam will follow and then Jora and Black join the chorus.


Ciam relaxing in the shade
Ciam relaxing in the shade

Leopard family

Leda and her daughter Rhea were rescued from a zoo in Cyprus and arrived at Shamwari in June 2009.

Leda in front of her viewing deck enjoying the view
Leda in front of her viewing deck enjoying the view

Both Leda and Rhea are doing great. I didn’t see them very much this month, probably because of the high temperatures, they are hiding in the shade of the undergrowth - it is hot here now! Rhea spends most of her time in the bushes. Sometimes I see her when I am doing daily checks, when she is having a drink, or during feeding times. Anyway, she is still doing very well and looks very healthy.  Leda likes to spend time by the bottom of her main camp, under a needle bush or inside her shelter. And later, when it is cool, she likes to chill on top of her jungle gym.


Queen, an ex-breeding farm lion and arrived at Shamwari in April 2015. Pictured here, she is looking very chilled, relaxing in the sunshine.


Queen is doing well and is still going strong. She likes to spend time in the bottom section of her enclosure, often under a bush and sometimes behind her shelter or in front of her viewing deck. Queen roars most mornings, some visitors record the sound and they often say what a beautiful cat Queen is.

Black and Jora

Rescued from a circus in Bulgaria after circuses with wild animals became illegal.  They arrived at Shamwari in September 2015.

Black walking towards his shelter
Black walking towards his shelter
Jora relaxing close to the fence line
Jora relaxing close to the fence line

Our boys are doing fantastic. They are always together. In the mornings they like to be in front of the viewing deck, when it starts to get hot they move to sleep where there is more shade.

They are quite active, some mornings playing and chasing each other up and down - they still love each other. They are growing very well and they still have a close bond with each other.

Julie Ward Centre Diary >

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

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