Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Jean Byrd Big Cats blog Nov. and Dec. 2011

Compiled by Glen Vena while Martin Miritiawo was on holiday in Zimbabwe.


I have been holding the fort at both centres and I must say things are not too bad. Christine and Sidney have been very kind in assisting me and Headman over this period.  Mid-January all will be back at work and hopefully we will be streamlining and tackling new challenges together.

We have been having some very warm days lately and I had to regularly attend to burst pipes at the Jean Byrd Centre as these would burst under pressure; this time the cats are not the culprits!

Kuma – rescued from Abidjan Zoo, Ivory Coast, March 1999

Kuma is looking good and healthy.  The other day I was sitting there looking at him and he was so at peace just minding his business, rolling around and taking a stretch.   I had to include these pictures and I loved every second taking them.   I hope you all are going to love them.

Kuma had a special visit from Ben and Mandy, who have adopted Kuma.  They were guests staying nearby at Amakhala. They came to visit our Julie Ward Centre in the south of the reserve, with the hope that they were going to get a glimpse of him.
Well, during the talk they realized Kuma wasn’t at the Julie Ward Centre, and after the tour they came to me and told me that they were BFF supporters and that they adopted Kuma. Well before they could finish talking I was already saying "yes" so we went on the 40 minute drive to the JB centre where they got to see Kuma and all the other cats that we care for and this seemed to be the biggest wish and gift they could have had.

These pictures I am sharing with you all, I took them whilst I was showing Ben and Mandy around.

Kuma leopard rescued by Born Free
He is so handsome and he was so chilled

The best part is that he allowed us to be so close to him.
He just took my breath away!
He was purring and he was pushing the bushes with his big front paws and rubbing his face in them, it has been a while I spend some time with him and every moment was like platinum!

Shada – rescued from a French Circus in November 2006

Shada is a goddess, if I may say this, she can be so nice sometimes and then in a second she can change!  She is very difficult to read and never reveals her cards.

She seems content, she loves her food and on many occasions I have heard her roar very loudly then I will hear Shamwari’s wild lions answer moments later.   I love her to bits, this big lioness with the mighty roar.  It is so hard loving the cats so much, as the good bye part when it comes is so difficult, and I try not too get too involved, but how could I not, they are family to me!

Here she was stalking me and she was trying to make herself very small by curling herself up! Ja good try Shada!
Then she walked off and went to sit in a different spot
Here she heard a baboon calling and she was all ears!

Brutus and Marina.  Brutus was rescued from a French circus in April 2008 and Marina was rescued from Romania, also April 2008.

They look good and to me at the time I was there it looked like Marina was wearing the pants in this relationship! Hehe!!!

Brutus is such a softy, oops he must not hear me saying that now!

They are both good eaters, I just wish Marina could slow down when she eats - she will take the meat apart in seconds and she would be done with it  so whenever I feed I make sure she gets a bone-y part , as  the bone will keep her busy afterwards!



Brutus enjoying the African sun.
Very naughty of Marina: while Brutus was having a snooze she got up and tackled him and he just lay there, sleeping, making purring sounds. Hmmm Brutus! He is such a gentleman.
Together at the water trough. After he had had a drink Marina went and sat on the lid. Both so content.
Brutus is a handsome lion, isn’t he?!

The Two J’S – Jools and Jerry.  Rescued from a Romanian zoo in August 2007

They are keeping well.  Mum Jools is still very protective over Jerry and does not allow anyone to get too close. Now and then Jools will get a skin problems which comes and goes.   The vets are keeping an eye on this.  Other than that all good.


Jools taking a big breath before she started to roar.
He just finished his roar with mum, and now it is sleeping time. All in a days work!

Leda and Rhea, rescued from Limassol Zoo in Greece in June 2009

The two ladies are doing just fine.  The daughter, Rhea, is her old self with a big attitude as ever!  She is a difficult one; just like Shada you can’t really read her, she is just there minding her own stuff.  Leda we see a lot with guests and she is very charming. I have seen her looking at Kuma but no interest is shown from either side, so nothing to be worried about.   Mother and daughter love their food and never waste anything, they even eat their bones, so less cleaning out to do!


leopard, rescued by born free
Here is Leda looking good. She does not look her age (nearly 22 years old) at all.
Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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