Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Julie Ward Centre - October 2010

Sydney Clay

by Sidney Clay, Animal Care Assistant


We had many guests, including school children, that we had to take care of while Christine and Matthews, our education team, were working away on Marine Week activities, but it was real fun for us and the kids.

All the cats are looking very well.

Pitou and Sirius, the leopards rehomed from Monaco Zoo

They look very good but Sirius loves his privacy and if we are to see him, to check on him, we have to cheat by driving to the feeding spot and he comes out to see if there is food on offer.  However, just lately we have seen more of him which is nice for our guests, so he is obviously getting more relaxed.  Pitou has always been a star because she is most of the time in front of the viewing deck. Sirius will be close to her but hiding behind bushes.


He is The Man and he is so lovely. Most of the time our guests get to see him, and they and the school children love him. If he is not in front of the viewing deck he will be lying under the guarry tree in the middle of his enclosure. When feeding he will sit by the feeding gates awaiting his food. After he’s received his food, we leave him alone because he growls, maybe telling us to leave him alone. Otherwise he is good. See below pictures of him very relaxed as now he has finished his food!

Photo Clay/BFF
Sinbad, full and happy
Photo Clay/BFF
Having a scratch. He is a character this little lion with a big personality!

Ma Juah, rescued from a private zoo in Liberia and Achee rescued from a home in Romania

The two girls are doing very well and they are always together. Most of the time they are at the back of the enclosure or in their hospital camp. When they are down the bottom of the hillside they will be lying under bushes close to the water trough or in front of the visitor’s viewing deck. Achee, being playful, when we are approaching the viewing deck, she will hide behind the small bushes in front of the deck and come out running, giving the guests a fright. If they were at the bottom at feeding time, Achee will arrive before MJ and MJ will be following slowly behind. Otherwise they’re good.

Photo BFF Bryony Hedley
Achee, photo taken by Born Free supporter Bryony Hedley on a recent visit

Sami, Alam and Nimira, the leopard triplets found motherless in the Sudan

These are our life savers when we have guests because most of the time we will see one or all of them even if it is from a distance. They seem to like to pose for cameras! When feeding they will all be at the feeding spot waiting.  Sami is separated from the others because he takes the others’ food. They are naughty because they bite every water pipe that is exposed and we have to fix that immediately because we lose water. When doing fence patrols they like to follow us. When the weather is cool they like to sit on the ‘jungle gyms’ with their nice views over the reserve.

We soon need to be fixing the sliding gates into their hospital camp, so we have put three travelling crates in their enclosure and we are getting them used to going in and out.  We are hoping we can eventually trap them in the crates so they can be moved without having to be darted.

Photo Clay/BFF
Alam and Nimira getting used to their travelling crates

Aslan and Stella, rescued from zoos in Greece

They are still at their temporary home at Ikhanda and they seem to enjoy it up there.   The habitat is much more open, so I hope they will enjoy it back at the Julie Ward Centre when they return, as we have cleared out the thorn bushes and opened it up a bit.  They will also have a smart new hospital camp and proper indoor quarters in case we need to give them veterinary treatment in the future, now they are getting quite elderly.   Our regular vehicle is broken down and we had to borrow one of our vet’s vehicles to take their food over to Ikhanda the other day.  When Aslan saw the vet’s vehicle he did not trust it!  Only when he saw us would he get close to the vehicle.  They are both good and eating well.  We are looking forward to having them back home next week.

Aslan - Photo Clay/BFF
Here they are fast asleep. Can you all see Stella’s head behind Aslan? They are always close to each other, never too far apart; only when eating do they go their different ways. I took this picture and they didn’t even hear me or the landie when it came around, they were seriously in dream land! Well, they are both getting rather deaf now.

The Jean Byrd Centre Diary - featuring Brutus, Kuma, Shada and the other Big Cats

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

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