Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Jean Byrd Centre Blog

October 2016

Written by Headman Matyumza and Kelvin Buys, Animal Care Assistants

Hello all, warm greeting from us, Headman and Kelvin, and the cats. We are all doing great. It’s now the summer program on the reserve and we are all extra busy.  We have had some visitors, and the number of guests is picking up. Our month started with a bang with a visit from our own Will Travers, the Born Free Foundation’s CEO and President.  He is nice and a down to earth person.

Only one thing: NO RAIN, it’s very dry. We are hoping for the heavy rains to come.

Our Rescued Lions and Leopards

Shada; Rescued from a French Circus Nov 2006


Shada is doing very well and we see her every day. She is taking her food very well, and drinks plenty of water. Most of the time our guests get see her as she often lies out in the open. 

Our white lions, Jabulani and Queen, were transferred to here from the Julie Ward Centre on 29th September, and Shada is often by the bottom fence or just behind her hospital camp looking in their direction.   She doesn’t have time for Jora and Black now, who used to be the focus of her attention, now she focuses on her new neighbours.  We would love to know what she is thinking.

Black and Jora; rescued from a Bulgarian Circus in Sepet 2015

Jora and Black
Jora in the front, Black behind

The brothers are doing excellently, and they take their food very well and eat it all. In the mornings, they like to chill by the bottom fence line close to the water trough. In the afternoon, they will be at the top of the hill in the shade of the bushes.  They are very playful, always together, they really seem to love each other.

We still separate them during feeding time as we don’t want them to fight over food. We usually feed Jora in the main camp, and Black in the hospital camp but we thought we should swap it over to get Jora used to being in the hospital camp too.  He didn’t like it, he was pacing up and down.  We will keep doing it, slowly, slowly so he doesn’t get anxious about it.  We kept him overnight in there, to ensure he had eaten everything and then we opened it up so he could join his brother.

Jora and Black sleeping together
Jora and Black sleeping together

The boys are still active and they are growing very well. The guests who visit us say that Black is bigger than Jora - not fat now dear readers!  Just in height or length.

Leda and her daughter Rhea; rescued from Limassol Zoo, Cypress, June 2009

Leda Leopard

The girls are doing very well and they are taking their food very well; although they are both elderly neither has given us any concern regarding their health. Leda doesn’t use the hospital camp as much as before, she is always in the main camp.  We think it’s because of the arrival of the white lions in the next door camp. 

They are some distance from her though.  Her favourite spot is in the main camp anyway, in the bushes close to the fence line. Rhea is also using the main camp more often, she likes to be on top of her shelter in the main camp standing there looking at the white lion’s camp. Later when it’s hot she will be in the shade in the bushes.

We had to share this pic of Leda sleeping on her shelter, looking very relaxed
We had to share this pic of Leda sleeping on her shelter, looking very relaxed

We don’t see Rhea so often at the moment. Sometimes she hides herself and she will only come when she is comfortable. For now we think they are little bit scared of the white lions, but as the time goes on they will get used to them.  It hasn’t put them off their food.  They have always lived next door to lions, and they have them on the other side of their main camp, no problem.  The white lion camp has been empty for some months now though before Jabulani and Queen were transferred there last month – and the white lions do look very unusual!

Queen and Jabulani; ex breeding farm lions. Arrived at Shamwari April 2015

Queen - white lion

Jabulani and Queen are so beautiful.  They are doing very well and taking their food very well.  They are using both enclosures, but the main camp is their favourite. We think it’s because there is a lot of open space, more open than at the Julie Ware Centre, but also trees for shade.  They are settled in now, they are used to their new home.

We separate them during feeding time, one in the hospital camp and other one in the main camp, then once they are done we let them back together. They like to be in the shade, either close to the water trough or below their platform, but always together. Queen is so sweet and calm and Jabu is also calm, although one thing he likes to do is to stalk poor Rhea next door.   We will keep an eye on this and put a screen up if necessary.

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

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