Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Jean Byrd Centre Blog

May 2017

Written by Headman Matyumza and Kelvin Buys

Welcome help from the Shamwari Conservation Experience students
Welcome help from the Shamwari Conservation Experience students

Hello everyone

Warm greetings from us and the lions and leopards at the Jean Byrd centre. We are all doing good.

We had a group of 20 Students from the Shamwari Conservation Experience come to help us this month.  Otherwise as it is just the beginning of the winter program on the reserve, there are generally fewer guests coming to visit us.  However, on 5th May, we had special guests from England and Belgium, along with two new members of the Born Free Shamwari team.  One was for the Julie Ward Centre, his name is Nelson and the other one for the Jean Byrd Centre and his name is Ciam, the beautiful one.

On 6th May we released the lions into their new home, and the release went very well.  The media was here and we were blessed to have Miss Virginia McKenna OBE and our new CEO Mr Howard Jones, and other Born Free members and Born Free Supporters.   There was also the team from Natuurhulpcentrum, the half way house in Belgium that the lions had come from. It was an amazing experience.

 

OUR RESCUED LIONS AND LEOPARDS

Shada, rescued from a French circus in November 2006

Shada
Shada

Shada is doing great, she loves spending time in her main camp and she eats very well. Our girl is very relaxed around us, I think she knows that we are here to care for her and not hurt her.  It is always good to see her so calm when we are close to her doing our fence checks etc.  We never forget though that she is a wild animal, so we always give her the utmost respect.

Black and Jora, rehomed from a circus in Bulgaria when the country banned wild animals in performing circuses in January 2015.  The brothers arrived in September 2015.

Our boys are doing good. Jora is always looking for his brother’s attention.  They play a lot and we think it’s a way of seeing which one comes out on top or maybe for them it’s a way of strengthening their bond. Eating time is always fun to watch because then there is no time for playing around you just hear them tearing the meat apart like lions do best. It’s great for us to be a part of the daily activities of these majestic cats.

Jora and Black
Jora and Black

Queen, an ex lion breeding farm lion.  She arrived Shamwari April 2015

Well the name says it all, she is a beauty to see, and so white that it is unbelievable. We transferred her into her current home just before Ciam arrived, and she is used to it nmow, and is seen a lot.  Queen is one sweet lady but looks can be deceiving.  We never go too close as if she feels threatened, she makes her feelings clear.  She loves to be in her own space and we give her just that, I mean, you don’t want these great animals to feel trapped liked they felt many years ago, so our promise we make is to give them way better than what they had before. And that includes not to let them feel uncomfortable.  I’m sure she still misses her Jabu, who died on 5th April, but she is looking amazingly well.

Queen
Queen

Leda and her daughter Rhea, rescued from Limassol Zoo in Cyprus.  They arrived in June 2009

This is one special family, each with its own characteristics, mom is calm and always visual but her daughter is shy and loves to hide.   Leda is mostly seen in her main camp close to the viewing deck and at her favourite tree, and on warm days we see her on her platform.  Rhea also loves to be in her main camp but we do see her in the hospital camp too, and there are days where she stalks us along the fence line when we do our fence checks.   When Ciam arrived in the next door camp, they did a lot of checking him out, from their platforms.

Leda
Leda
Rhea
Rhea

Ciam, he was born in a circus in France and then was kept illegally as a pet in small cage in a garden.  He was confiscated and taken in by Natuurhulpcentrum in Belgium. He arrived Shamwari 6th May 2017.

Ciam
Ciam

Our boy is doing great and we spend a lot of time with him.  The plan is for him to settle in and for him to get used to us, which he is doing.  He is a very friendly lion.  It was amazing seeing him on top of his shelter in his main camp and then we knew what a great climber he was.  Ciam likes to be close to the water trough and viewing deck and he loves stalking his leopard neighbours next door. He is very active which is a good thing, it makes it easier for us to keep an eye on him, and the fact that he eats very well is a plus for us too.  So, we are glad to report that Ciam is doing fantastic.  To round it off, all is well with the team at Born Free.

Here is a report on Ciam and Nelson when they first arrived:

http://www.bornfree.org.uk/campaigns/big-cats/big-cat-rescue/shamwari-diary/big-cat-diaries-update-on-ciam-nelson/

 

Julie Ward Centre Diary >

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


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