Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Big Cat Diary March 2016


March 2016

Written by Glen Vena, Animal Care Manager

Hello all.  Here is news on our rescued lions and leopards.  

ACHEE AND SINBAD – Achee was rehomed from a private home in Romania; she arrived at Shamwari in September 2004.  Sinbad was rescued from a closing zoo in Bacau, Romania; he arrived at Shamwari August 2007.  Achee and Sinbad were introduced to each other in January 2015 after the death of Achee’s companion, Ma Juah.

These two cats are doing very well and look good too. However I must admit that Sinbad is really stubborn.  For years he wanted Achee when she lived ‘next door’ with Ma Juah, and now that Achee is with him, he is giving her the cold shoulder, that’s not cool at all.  Achee is so friendly, she will try her best to get close to him and sniff him or try to groom him, but them he will growl at her and pull an ugly face at her! 

Martin noticed the other day that she had two claw marks on her back, I’m sure she tried to be close to Sinbad and he smacked her bum way too hard; he needs some lessons and I’m not sure who is going to take up the challenge! In the meantime we are here for them and doing our best to keep them safe. 

See some pictures of them below.

This photo of Achee and Sinbad together, it is one of the few moments that I get to see Sinbad chilled. When I’m around he gets so excited thinking I’m bringing food and he forgets that he is on a date… I swear he just has food in his head!

Sinbad and Achee in the main camp, walking around, I guess he is showing her what is his and what she can and cannot touch!


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

They look good and are always in love.

Brutus still likes to get the best out of me. 

During feeding he loves to give me a scare or a run at me a little bit, I guess that excites the hell out of him, other than that he is a pretty cool lion.  Marina is sweet and I have nothing to say about her that is bad.  When I took this picture she was looking at some kudu that were grazing not far from us.  Man, what was going on in her mind not sure, I tell you all she was so focused. 

Brutus and Marina

Leopard Triplets SAMI, ALAM and NIMIRA, found as cubs in Sudan.  They arrived Shamwari July 2001

Martin took this picture of the triplets on his fence patrol. Can you spot all three? Not much to report on them. They are all good.  When our guests visit us it is often only the triplets and our white lions that will be seen as the other cats will be in parts of their camps away from the viewing platforms. 

Jerry, Maggie and Sonja.  Jerry was rescued from a French circus and arrived at Shamwari in August 2007; Maggie and Sonja were rescued from a German circus and arrived at Shamwari in January 2015.  They were introduced to each other in June and July 2015.

All three look great.  The girls love each other and are very close still.  You will see they still enjoy doing the small things together like having a drink, isn’t that cool?  And Sonja makes the funniest noises while she is drinking!   They are the sweetest cats!

Sonja left and Maggie right

This pic was taken in their hospital camp after they had finished their food, they always take their time to go out, they will sniff each other, walk around in their houses to see who left what, and then go into the main camp.  

Maggie left and Sonja right

Jabulani and Queen, ex-breeding farm lions.  They were transferred from Shamwari’s sister reserve, Sanbona, and arrived at Shamwari April 2015.

They look good and very relaxed. Jabu still likes to mark his territory in front of the visitor viewing deck and on some days the stench does become unbearable. We do remove what we can remove, however with urine that is in the ground and sprayed onto the trees is a different story. Nevertheless, all is well with them. 

Queen and Jabulani


We started March with the celebrations for Martin’s Birthday. 

We were all busy with daily tasks when we got a call that we were all needed in the boardroom. Little did we know that Cath had planned this small get together to say happy birthday to Martin.  

Left: Catherine, Martin, Thembela, (Right back row) Headman, Sidney, Glen, Phindiswa and Kelvin

We had some Shamwari Conservation Experience students come to visit us at the Julie Ward Centere.  Here is a picture with some of the students from Merrist Wood College in Guildford – UK 

We had great talks and they loved our work. Time was not in our favour as three hours we was just not enough, we will see what next year holds when they visit again. 

This is Jose and Rosa, who also came to visit us at the Centre.  They are friends of Born Free Foundation Trustee Sue Olsen.  They had been fortunate to see Jora and Black, two of our lions at the Jean Byrd Centre, in September 2015.  The lions were in their travelling crates then at Heathrow Airport, en route to Shamwari from Bulgaria.   Jose and Rosa were delighted to see them enjoying their new life here.

Read the latest Jean Byrd Big Cat Diary here! 

Jose and Rose going through some pictures of the OUT OF AFRICA fundraising event in aid of the Born Free Foundation by the Olsen family in September 2014.
Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

Share | |