Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Julie Ward Centre Blog

July 2017
Written by Glen Vena, Animal Care Manager,
Born Free Big Cat Rescue Centre at Shamwari

What a great month it has been.  We had a visit from Howard Jones our CEO from Born Free in England, and a visit from our friends at Panthera Africa – a big cat sanctuary on the Western Cape.

A visit from Lisaene and Catherine from Panthera Africa.  It was very nice.  We spent time at both our rescue centres and I managed to get this selfie in.

I also had lovely Shamwari Conservation Experience students come to visit.  I wish I could mention them all, as we meet so many lovely young people and they are so interested in our work and always want to do more.

Now, for news on our rescued lions and leopards.

Brutus and Marina.  Brutus was rescued from a French circus and Marina was rescued from a private owner in a Romanian apartment where she was found as a sickly cub.  Both arrived at Shamwari in April 2008.

Johan, Shamwari’s vet, had to dart Brutus for a health checks and X-rays. Brutus has an ongoing limp of unknown causes and with new Xray equipment Johan wanted to see if this would reveal the reason.  It didn’t, so Johan’s investigations continue.

Brutus being examined by Johan Joubert our Vet while our Vet Nurse Megan Sinclair takes blood samples.  The Shamwari Conservation Experience volunteers get the opportunity to observe this unusual event.  

Brutus and Marina being reunited.  It looked like they had not seen each other for days; Marina was smelling him, pulling his ears gently and she would run in circles around him, it was such an amazing sight to see. They are so madly in love with each other.

After they had greeted each other, she sat next to him just like that, so cool!

Marina really surprised me one morning this month. I was on my fence walk as I always do in the mornings, just to check what all the cats were up to. When I got to Marina, I was amazed to see her busy eating a monkey!   She must have caught it herself.  She didn’t want Brutus even close to her, I have never seen her like that! It is very dry at the moment in the whole of southern Africa, and food is becoming very scarce. In our enclosures where our cats live, there are many trees that have good seeds that look very attractive to the eye of many animals so perhaps a group of monkeys braved it and went in.  One did not make it out.  L It was very sad to see this, and I was happy that I did not witness it from the start.  Marina seemed so pleased with herself though, so I was glad for her.  It just shows, even if these rescued cats were born behind bars, they never lose that hunting instinct.

Marina telling me to go! 

This is how the seeds look like from the Karoo-boer-bean (Schotia afra)

The seeds close up

Achee and Sinbad.  Achee was rehomed from a private home in Romania in September 2004; Sinbad was rescued from a zoo in Romania in August 2007

They are well and both look fantastic.   I got this lovely picture of Achee sleeping on her back enjoying the morning winter sun.  She was in such a deep sleep she didn’t even hear me coming.  Ahhhh my girl I have become so much attached to both of them, they are such great animals.  Each day is a learning experience in this line of work, and I am very moved by it.

Achee sleeping soundly.

With Sinbad in the background watching Nelson

Sami and Alam, found with their sister as motherless cubs in Sudan.  They arrived Shamwari July 2001

Boys are good, and they look good too. I don’t hear them rasping much these days, and they are always together. Our guests who see them, love them, but are saddened to hear that they lost their sister in April.

Nelson, confiscated from a run-down French zoo. He arrived at Shamwari on 5th May, 2017


Here is a very short video clip I recorded with my mobile phone while doing a tour one drizzling morning.  DAVID ……   Nelson was just doing his thing, walking around, rubbing his head and beautiful mane on the Spekboom (Portulacaria afra) bush. Our guests loved seeing him.  Indeed, he is a favourite!

We have noticed that during feeding Nelson is very impatient and can lose his temper quickly and will act like a very angry

Ciam playing with his bones

I was at the Jean Byrd Center to check on all that cats, and I was so interested to see Ciam playing with what was left of his food.

He is a stunning looking lion, and looks very much at home here. 

I see him spending a long time looking towards the horizon of Shamwari.  I wonder if he is looking out for the wild lions that sometimes pass by the Jean Byrd Centre perimeter fence.  When he sees them, he will walk up and down the fence line and roar.  I am not sure what he is saying but the wild lions just ignore him and just keep on walking.

Kelvin and Headman report to me that Ciam really loves his food and always looks forward to it when they come around with their vehicle to feed. He will be so excited, he will be literally jumping around!

Lastly, I want to share with you one other photo.  In the mornings, when coming to work, I often see this great white mist, and it looks so lovely.  I took this pic from Sami and Alam’s viewing deck.  Shamwari is a beautiful place. 

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

Share | |