Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

The Jean Byrd Centre Blog

October 2017

Written by headman Matyumza and Kelvin Buys

Hello everyone

A warm greeting from us and the cats at the Jean Byrd Centre. It has been a busy month with guests of Shamwari coming almost every day, we also had a lot of volunteers and we also had a visit from Born Free Trustee Sue Olsen and friends and sponsors.

Everything is growing so fast at this time of the year, so we are doing a lot of clearing.  We had nice rain so everything is green and our dam on the reserve has water.  Hopefully there is more rain to come.

This month we travelled to the south of the reserve to help with the preparation of a lot of food for our cats and to assist Sidney with his school program.


Shada –rescued from a French circus.  She arrived at Shamwari in November 2006


This month was a tough month for our lady because we noticed on the 9th October that she was not eating her meat so we immediately reported it to our animal care manager and we were told to monitor her closely until Johan, our vet, comes to check on her.

Dr Johan came and sedated her and took blood tests and apparently she was a bit anaemic.  He gave her some treatment and we could see the change after his treatment because she started to eat her meat. We started with small portions just to be sure that she is really eating and then went back to her normal portion.

So when Dr Johan came to check up on her he was happy with her recovery. We see her now sometimes on top of her shelter in the main camp and know that she is back to her old self again.

Black and Jora.  These two brothers came to us from a Bulgarian circus in September 2015, after circuses with wild animals were made illegal in Bulgaria.

Black, left, and Jora
Black, left, and Jora

The boys are doing great and we can see that they still have the bond of brothers.

Jora has a slight change in his mane. We notice that there is some black hair in between the hairs of his very blond mane.

This time of the year is always hot so we often see the boys up top of the hill in the shelter of the bushes.  They eat very well, play with each other and chase each other.  When we open the hospital camp gate after they have been separated for feeding they are so happy to be together in one camp.

Queen, an ex-breeding farm lion.  She came to Shamwari in April 2015.


Queen is doing great. We usually see her close to the hospital camp under a guarri tree. Sometimes we see her under her platform in the main camp. Our guests see her a lot as she likes lying up in the open, and say she is one beautiful lady who looks like a polar bear and very big as well. She eats her meat very well. Some mornings when we come in for work she will start roaring then the others jump in and we can’t describe that sound but it’s fantastic to hear.

Leda and her daughter Rhea, rescued from a zoo in Cyprus.  They arrived at Shamwari in June 2009.


They are doing brilliantly and taking their food very well.  The elderly Leda is in a good condition, still active and she loves to spend her time on the roof of her platform, minding her business, or behind her shelter enjoying the heat of the sun. She has a spot in the right hand corner of the main camp close to the viewing deck where she spends some of her time.  Rhea on the other hand doesn’t enjoy being visible.   She enjoys the opportunity to be private.

Rhea spends most of her time in her main camp, we think it’s because there is a lot of shade there which is welcome at this time of year.  Sometimes we do see her in the hospital camp, mostly in or on top of her shelter.  She is still doing great, we love to see her.

Ciam, rescued from being kept as a pet in France.  He arrived at Shamwari in May 2017


The young boy is good condition and growing well.

Sometimes we see him using the trees to strengthen his claws and mark his territory, rubbing his head against the stems.  He takes his food very well and he doesn’t play with it, just gets straight on with eating.  When he has finished eating he will go and rest under a tree next to the water trough.   He likes to accompany us when we do our fence check. He still loves to stalk the leopards next door but they are used to him doing this now.

The Julia Ward Centre Diary

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

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