Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

The Julie Ward Centre

Report on rescued lions and leopards at Julie Ward Centre, Shamwari Game Reserve, South Africa

By Glen Vena, Animal Care Manager

July 2010

Well, we have all put our vuvuzellas away now and well done to Spain. I personally think we hosted a very successful Soccer World Cup, go RSA go!

I was very fortunate to go to a match in Port Elizabeth.  I went to watch the Korea v Uruguay game, and what a game it was.  I took my son, Sergei with me, what a dream come true it was for him.  Thanks Aby (our office manager at Shamwari) for making this happen.

Photo Glen Vena / BFF
At the game at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality Stadium, in PE

We also have been busy doing fences and removing some of the gates that needed fixing up at the Julie Ward Centre.  Shamwari’s Wildlife staff came out in numbers to help.

I also managed to get my Code 14 (HGV) licence on the 7th July 2010. So a very big bow-wow to Jayne Le Cras for her support and making this happen.   (Jayne helped care for Marina and Sarnia when they were cubs staying temporarily at the GSPCA shelter in Guernsey.) It is a huge help to Shamwari now I can drive large vehicles.

We also had a visitor for Brutus all the way from France, actor Yves Renier who had helped sponsor the rescue of Brutus.  He was very pleased to have seen him and said that Brutus looked very good.  He spent over two hours with Brutus.  Well, Brutus is an easy going lion, he was just there minding his own business and looking at Marina.  It was Marina who was more interested in our special guest.

Photo Glen Vena/BFF
Yves Renier at the JB Centre during his visit

We had another special guest: Sidney, my animal care assistant, was very lucky to have Bryan Adams visiting the Julie Ward Centre, see picture below.  This was indeed a highlight for the animal care team. Wish I could have been here, but was sitting at home with a throat infection, grrrr.

Photo Glen Vena /BFF
Christine Sydney, Aby and our VIP Bryan Adams

We had a fantastic trip to Shamwari.  You guys do amazing work and I'm proud to be a tiny part of it” - Bryan Adams

Now to the cats at last!

Pitou and Sirius


Sirius in front and Pitou - Photo Christine le Roux

Generally speaking these two elderly leopards are well, and they look well too.  When Pitou is in season, we will hear a lot of growls coming from the middle of the camp.  However, because we can’t see them we are not sure if they are mating growls or a wrestling match, as Sirius doesn’t seem to show any interest when Pitou is in season.  We do not see any scars or wounds on their bodies afterwards though.

Our guests rarely see Sirius, they are more likely to see Pitou who is not so shy.   We have a special time for guests to bring their children, 2.30pm, and sometimes Sirius can be seen then, lying on the platform that the international students built for them.

Food they take with out any problems, all is good that side. We still feed them in the hospital camp, however we do not shut them inside as Sirius becomes very nervous and he will actually try to open the gate.

Achee and Ma Juah

The girls look great, and are spend time together as usual.  We have been doing fence maintenance in their hospital camp – their favourite place to be - so they have been spending lots of time in the main camp.  They are fine with this, they also been looking at Sinbad.  There has been some interaction between them, all good, no aggression was shown.  MJ is just very protective and will keep an eye on Achee.  If Achee would approach the fence or go closer towards Sinbad, MJ would get up too and stand closer to her as in the photo below.

Photo Glen Vena/BFF
Achee lying down, with Ma Juah standing perfectly on guard
Photo Glen Vena - BFF
Achee – left - and MJ – right; this is how they sleep. This is not far from where they were watching Sinbad. I really love this picture.


He is doing very well.  He is a friendly little lion so is more likely to be seen by our guests. He loves spending time with the bones left over from his meat, so sometimes we hear him growling protectively in the bushes.  He also loves chewing on the remaining skin.

Ma Juah and Achee have been looking at him.  Achee is very friendly, however MJ is very protective and she doesn’t want Achee to make any eyes at Sinbad.   Sinbad returns Achee’s interest too, but MJ is always watching them.   Not in a bad way, it is just her way, being like that.

Leopard Triplets

They look good, always out and about.  They are very relaxed with each other, they are always playful and love to do their wrestling thing.

Nimira is very sharp, always on the look out.  I saw her the other day trying to tackle a mongoose that got into the camp. It was during the fence patrol when I saw this happening, it happened so fast and she was so fast after it, however the mongoose was lucky and got away.  You could see she was very frustrated with herself.  However she had her brothers to distract her as they got interested when they saw her running and came to see what was going on.

Aslan and Stella

Generally these old timers are doing well and they look great. We do not see them much but we hear them - they are very vocal!  Our guests at Bushman River Lodge, Sarili Lodge, Longlee Manor and Riverdene say they can hear them.


July update for the Jean Byrd Centre Cats

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

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