Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Big Cat Diary June 2016

Jean Byrd Center Blog 

Written by Headman Matyumza and Kelvin Buys

June 2016

Students from Shamwari Conservation Experience

Hello all, warm greetings from us and the cats.  We are all doing well, although we have had a sad loss this month.

It’s the Winter Program now here at Shamwari which means we have few visitors coming in. Luckily, this winter, the Shamwari Conservation Experience students keep us busy.  We had a group of   40 students and we also had guests from Kuoni Travel and Tour Operators.  Kuoni are very supportive of BFF and their representatives were so happy to see our rescued cats.  We keep ourselves busy with thorough cleaning of the Centre, camps and garden and sometimes we go to the Julie Ward Centre to help with preparing the meat for the cats.

Guys, as many of you will know, our beloved Kuma has, sadly, passed on.  He was euthanased on 23rd June.  It was with a sad heart that we had to let go of our handsome boy.  It was not an easy decision, but it is not good to see a cat suffering, this guy was our friend.  May his soul rest in peace.  Go well Kuma, we will miss you.


Our rescued lions and leopards

Shada, rescued from a French circus.  She arrived Shamwari November 2006.


She is doing very well.  We usually see her by the bottom fence line, sometimes staring at wild animals.  If the wild lions are around the Born Free perimeter fence, Shada will tell us. She is not stalking Jora too much these days, she did that when she is in the mood.   We think that they have got used to each other now.    She seems okay now when our guests take some pictures, she will look at them with no movements. She is a sweet girl.

Leda and her daughter Rhea, rescued from Limassol Zoo in Cyprus.  Arrived Shamwari June 2009.

Mother and daughter are doing great and they are taking their food very well. Leda is always in the main camp behind her shelter basking on the sun there;  the weather is cold and windy now here. Rhea also hides in her own main camp especially on cold days.  We see her drinking from the trough in her hospital camp when she is thirsty. During our fence check we spent more time with them just to check on how they are doing in this winter. Most of the time they are sleepy with minimum movements. 

Rhea in her hospital camp

Black and Jora, rehomed from a Bulgarian circus.  Arrived Shamwari September 2015.

Jora, left, and Black, right
Jora, foreground and Black behind

The brothers are doing marvelously and they take their food very well. Black always tests his dominancy on Jora, just reminding him who is the strongest. We separate them when we feed just to eliminate fighting, but when they finish their food we let them be together, because these boys love each other. I wonder if Jora is missing Kuma, as he liked to stalk him when he could see him, even though their two camps are separated by a large area of grass, Kuma just ignored him.  

Catch the latest Julie Ward Big Cat Diary here!

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

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