Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Julie Ward Centre Diary

November 2016

Written by Glen Vena, Animal Care Manager

Hello to all. I trust all is good. November has been extremely warm and very dry, we could to with some good rains, the veld and animals really need it, us too. The water levels have dropped and grazing is little for the animals, so we are hoping to get some rains very soon.


Jerry, Maggie and Sonja.  Jerry was rescued from a Romanian zoo and arrived at Shamwari in August 2007.  Maggie and Sonja  were rescued from a German circus and arrived January 2015.

They look good, they look at home, a very dry home as you can see in some of the pictures, the grass in the camps is brown or yellowish.   In some spots, it is just soil. Well, with the girls there is nothing special to report on; as usual they get on very well with each other.

Jerry can be a handful sometimes, especially when he sees Sinbad… He would pace the fence and roar very loudly, and Sinbad would patrol his fence-line too, with that seeming-smile on his face. Hmm boys!  Other than that, they are good. 

See the picture of Jerry sleeping close to his favourite spot, his one paw is on the tree’s stump; while he is asleep he would massage the tree with his claws, they would come in and out, just like a little kitten suckling his/her mum.  Not sure if you all have ever seen that movement that kittens do when suckling, and half-asleep?  Well, it’s a motion like that and Jerry seems to be fast asleep too!

Jerry sleeping
Jerry sleeping

Sinbad and Achee.  Achee was rehomed from a private owner in Romania and arrived at Shamwari in September 2004; Sinbad was rescued from a Romanian zoo and arrived at Shamwari in August 2007.

Sinbad and Achee are looking good and Sinbad is getting more and more relaxed with Achee.  Sinbad did have a rash on his lower back and our vet Dr Johan Joubert treated him for this.  It wasn’t even necessary to dart him as Johan was able to inject the meds through the fence.  Ah, I cannot thank all those involved in providing us with the new hospital camps.  Managing the cats is so much easier.

Well, back to the point of the rash on Sinbad’s back, look at the picture below and you will all see it. Not sure what is the cause of this, could be flies or something else causing the irritation.

What I like about this pic is that you can see Achee’s paw in the air; they were sleeping face to face in the shade, keeping cool in our summer heat. 

Sinbad and Achee
Sinbad and Achee

This other picture again shows how close and comfortable they are getting with each other.  This was in the hospital camp after they had eaten and I had open for them so that they could say hello to each other.

Sinbad walked around smelling the area. He took one sniff at Achee and went to sit behind her!  She just kept on relaxing and they did their thing.

I opened the gate so that they could go into the main camp but they chose not to go, they remained inside the hosp camp area, sitting the way you all see them in the picture….

I had to move on as I had guests coming, but they are really cool with each other. They have found ways to keep each other company and they are contented.

Achee and Sinbad together in the hospital camp, just outside their indoor houses
Achee and Sinbad together in the hospital camp, just outside their indoor houses

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

They are stunning and so caring with each other. However, I must say that Brutus still has this limp on his right front leg. Johan our Vet has darted him and examined him and taken some bloods, but the results are inconclusive. We are observing.  He does not seem to be in discomfort to us who know him but to the eye it could look like he is. On this matter, we await Johan’s next move.

Marina is good and very playful… the other day I saw her with my own eyes catching a hadeda ibis in the main camp, she was so quick and it was all over in seconds…

Here is a picture of them relaxing in the back of their enclosure, all good.  At the time they were looking at the triplets, just looking…

Marina and Brutus
Marina and Brutus

The leopard triplets,  Nimira, Alam and Sami.  They were found in the wild in Sudan, as motherless cubs.  They arrived at Shamwari in July 2001.

Here is Nimira sleeping in her hospital camp and I managed to take a picture of her while she was sleeping, and she opened her eye just as I took the picture, she is so beautiful.

Below are pictures of Nimira and the boys drinking water, they are good, look good too, and are still very mischievous. All is well with the triplets.

  • Nimira
  • Leopards

Other News

The other day a good thunder storm passed Shamwari on her way to Grahamstown. So, we had a good 15 to 20 minutes of rain and some lightning and great thunder. Well, for some of us the little kid just woke up inside and we ran in the rain and had a great laugh while we were at work.

Look at this selfie that I took with all the water running off the Julie Ward centre thatched roof; it was just fantastic and I just could not take the smile of my face.

We also had a two ton visitor to the centre and it was nice to see them. Rhinos, as we all know, are under threat just like so many other animals on earth, their horns are being used for many different medicinal purposes and this needs to STOP.

This rhino was just grazing and, minding his own business.  A few warthogs were in the area too. You can see the Julie Ward Centre in the background, that’s lovely.


Recently, I had to play Mr Plumber Man as one of the water pipes at BFF that brings the water to the centre had burst, this was due to the heat.   We had a school group and guests on this day so we had to improvise and fix this quickly so that we could restore the flow of water to the building.

I also had a few BFF supporters who came to see us and meet up with the cats that they support and as always it is very nice to see them and meet them all. So here are a few pictures that I managed to get, in no particular order.

Top is Wayne Green, a long-time BFF supporter. He had a stroke 15 years ago, before he could visit the centre and man, what an experience it was for him to come at last.  Wayne walked himself all the way around and wanted to see each and every one of our rescued cats, he did really well!

Bryony Hedley is no new face to us, whenever she has the opportunity she would visit our reserve and get some chat time with all of us on the ground. Thank you for your visit Bryony.

This is Lizl Niewoudt, one of many South Africans who are passionate about what BFF is doing around the world and whenever they can they will stop in to say hello.

Not to forget our Shamwari Conservation Experience students who always give us a hand now and then at BFF.
Not to forget our Shamwari Conservation Experience students who always give us a hand now and then at BFF
Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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