Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Julie Ward Centre Diary May 2012

Written by Glen Vena, Animal Care Manager

It is quiet on the reserve at this time of year and there have not been many guests, but caring for the cats have been keeping us busy as usual.

Sirius, rehomed from Monaco Zoo in January 2008

He looks very well and we are happy that he is more comfortable around people now as we see much more of him.

During feeding he still grabs his food and runs off and he has this spot in the bushes that he loves to go to, and sit under, to eat.  He will look at us through the bushes and now and then he would give a growl or two to say he is still there and has an eye on us. He never leaves anything behind, whatever you give him, he will finish.

Sirius, the Leopard (c) BFF/ Shamwari/ Vena

I managed to get this picture as Martin gave Sirius his food.  He came as fast as he could from his favourite hiding spot to grab his cow ribs – something he likes very much.  We could hear him start to eat straight away, breaking the bones with his powerful jaws.

Sinbad, rescued from a Romanian Zoo in August 2007

Just lately Sinbad is spending more time at the back of his camp, looking through the fence at Ma Juah and Achee.  They are not in season though, as they are on contraceptives.

He still loves his food and is very serious about not being disturbed when eating – do not even think to call him while he is eating!  If you do he will growl and cover the food with his big paws.  As you can see he is looking very well.

Sinbad (c) BFF/ Shamwari/ Vena
Sinbad. This photo was taken just after he has got up from his beauty sleep.

Ma Juah, rescued from a zoo in Liberia in July 2004, and Achee rehomed from a private home in Romania in September 2004

One night this month we had a bit of thunder and lightning.  All the cats respond differently to these elements that Mother Nature introduces us to and it seems Ma Juah does not like this sort of weather.  We did not see MJ for almost a whole day afterwards and poor Sidney was very worried. 

She emerged at the end of the day, seeming just as normal.  She probably wondered what the fuss was all about: the calling, the shouting, the hooting and now and then some small logs flying over the fence into the bushes, to see if we could observe any movement.  Now I know better that she is not good friends with thunder and lightning I will have a word or two with THOR – hehehe

Otherwise the girls are well and MJ has recovered 100%from her lick granuloma.

Achee can be very playful and sometimes she will instigate a wrestling match with Ma Juah and it is very nice to see her and MJ playing like that.  They would wrestle each other and MJ would chase her around the bushes … yes that same MJ who was stumbling around when she came here to our sanctuary many years ago.  It is wonderful to see her being herself, being a lion, she is making the best of what was taken from her and she is happy and that steals my heart each time I see her like this.  She is a survivor.

Achee well I think she makes a big part of Ma Juah, and Ma Juah makes who Achee is.  They depend on each other.

Ma Juah (c) BFF/ Shamwari/ Vena

Triplets, arrived at Shamwari, from Sudan, in July 2001

Sami, Alam and Nimira are looking good.  Usually our guests or school kids are lucky enough to see at least one of them, so they always put a smile on everyone’s face.  Something that seems particularly special to our guests is when the leopards jump up onto their ‘jungle gyms’ and gaze across the open areas of the wildlife reserve.

Recently I saw them chasing after a poor mongoose that got into their enclosure by mistake.  The mongoose ran very hard for his life and Nimira was very close to catching him, but the mongoose was so fast and more agile than her and managed to out run her! She was not happy at all.  She turned and picked a fight with Sami, and poor Sami was not sure why he was getting it.  Alam was wise enough to keep clear and keep a good distance from both of them.

Nimira needed time to cool down and she took a walk with me to have a drink of water.  In a way I was happy that the mongoose got away, but sad that Nimira seemed so miserable as I could see she was kicking herself for letting him escape.  For the boys I think the chase was the highlight!!!!! They looked very pleased with themselves, well Alam was trying to mend Sami’s broken ego, grooming him.  This happened during my late fence check in the afternoon. I sneaked up on them and they did not notice me coming, so I got to see the chase, that was cool.

Brutus and Marina; Brutus was rescued from a French circus in December 2007, and Marina rescued from Romania in April 2008.

These two have settled in nicely at the Julie Ward Centre and are still enjoying their new home. They love the bushes now, even though they chose to lie out in the open at the Jean Byrd Centre, so we do not get to see them on as many occasions these days.  Well that is fine by me and the rest of the team, as long as we get to see them at least twice a day I’m happy.  Recently Sidney and I needed to do some work in their main camp, so they were shut in their hospital camp and I was very surprised with their behaviour. We were clearing the undergrowth and were making a noise with the lawn mower and the weed-eater, but Brutus and Marina just sat there looking at us and Brutus even took a siesta and started to roll around while trying to grab Marina’s tail.

Marina and Brutus (c) BFF/ Shamwari/ Vena
Here are Marina and Brutus in their hospital camp, looking at me and Sydney working in their main camp.
Marina and Brutus (c) BFF/ Shamwari/ Vena
Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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