Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Julie Ward Centre Update

June 2017

Written by Glen Vena, Animal Care Manager 

It is very cold and very dry this month, we could do with lots of rain.  Most of the grass has been burnt by the frost as we have minus temperatures in the mornings here at Shamwari. Cats look great though, and they are thriving.  The manes of the male lions seem puffed up with these low winter temperatures.

OUR RESCUED LIONS AND LEOPARDS

The leopard brothers, Sami and Alam.  Found as motherless cubs in Sudan.  They arrived at Shamwari in July 2001.

Sami
Sami
Alam rubbing against Sami
Alam rubbing against Sami

The two boys, they look good; very content and always together. Alam is always rubbing himself on his brother looking for his affection and Sami would be grumpy at first but will eventually rub his head back at Alam. So yes, the boys are carrying on after the recent sad death of their sister, Nimira, who had liver failure.  Most of our guests are lucky enough to see the brothers on their visits, but sometimes, especially after they are sleeping off a meal, then they will be hidden in the depth of their enclosures.

Brutus and Marina.  Brutus was rescued from a French circus and Marina was found as a sickly cub in a block of flats in Romania.  They both arrived at Shamwari in April 2008

Brutus and Marina
Brutus and Marina
Brutus and Marina

I managed to take this photo of Brutus and Marina when they were drinking water in their trough in the main camp. Marina was busy earlier in the morning with her paws, trying to fish the ball valve out and in the process she managed to flip the lid over.  Martin and I will have to fix that later when we change the water. With this drought, we have to conserve every drop of water.

Achee and Sinbad.  Achee was rehomed from a private home in Romania, and arrived at Shamwari in September 2004.  Sinbad was rescued from a run-down zoo in Romania and arrived at Shamwari in August 2007

Achee and Sinbad
Achee and Sinbad

Every day they are getting to know each other better and it is lovely to see them rubbing heads against each other at last.  They seem to really enjoy this – it makes their day. However, since the new boy Nelson moved in next door last month,  Achee has been keeping an eye on him and she would pace her side of the fence regularly, trying to get a better look at him through the screens that we have put up to avoid eye contact between them all. Sinbad totally ignores Nelson. For now, as Achee keeps returning to Sinbad, then Sinbad has no beef with Nelson.  It seems Nelson is welcome to look but not have her.

NELSON – rescued from a run-down zoo in France.  He arrived at Shamwari in May 2017

Nelson has settled in very well. He doesn’t roar every day, but when he does, it makes all the other Born Free Foundation Free lions roar with him, and it will be so loud, their mighty roars echo over Shamwari’s valleys and from a distance. We would hear the wild lions answering too!  Man, that just gives me goose bumps on my arms, it’s wonderful to hear.  When Nelson is doing this, he would be on top form and he would be marking and spraying everywhere so for me it’s a territorial thing and he is claiming his.

Nelson relaxed in his enclosure
Nelson relaxed in his enclosure

Jerry, Maggie and Sonja.  Jerry was rescued from Buhusi Zoo in Romania and arrived at Shamwari in August 2007.  The sisters Maggie and Sonja were rescued from a German circus and arrived at Shamwari in January 2015.

Jerry and the girls are well, we see them every time when doing tours with our guests. Jerry is very interested in Nelson, I have seen him now many times up and down his fence line looking straight pass Sinbad and into Nelson’s eyes. Nelson must be a very interesting character to them all, I mean even Brutus and Marina answer his calls and they are at the furthest corner at the Julie Ward Centre.

Maggie and Sonja are always together, they still love to share food and would eat together without a fight or taking each other’s food. They are the loveliest cats ever.

Maggie and Sonja
Maggie and Sonja

Other News

A terrible fire started in the Western Cape in the Knysna and Plettenberg Bay area, however the smoke came all the way to us in the Eastern Cape.  A farmer just outside Port Elizabeth, in the Thornhill area, 140km away, about 1 ½ hour drive from us, got affected.

The picture will show you how thick the smoke was, I took the pic mid-morning at the back of Jerry, Maggie and Sonja’s enclosure right at the back of their hospital camp.  The smoke did not affect our cats negatively and all carried on as normal, but to us it was a big concern. 

Smoke in the air, seen from the back of Jerry, Maggie and Sonja’s camp
Smoke in the air, seen from the back of Jerry, Maggie and Sonja’s camp

Finally, Martin and I had a surprise visit from Rosy, granddaughter of Shamwari’s Founder, Adrian Gardiner, and daughter of Abagail Gardiner, our former Born Free Centre Manager.  Abagail came to see how our cats and the Julie Ward Centre were getting on.  It was a real treat to see Rosy, and all grown up.

Rosy Gardiner, daughter of our former Born Free Centre Manager
Rosy Gardiner, daughter of our former Born Free Centre Manager
Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906


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