Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Big Cat Diary September 2016

JULIE WARD CENTRE UPDATE
SEPTEMBER 2016
WRITTEN BY GLEN VENA, ANIMAL CARE MANAGER

Spring is here and we had some rain and that has transformed the veld a little bit, flowers here and there, lots of new babies on the reserve, must say it is indeed good to be here.

I celebrated my 37th birthday at work.  I’ve been with the organisation for 16 years, still feels like day one! Must say I am very privileged to have been with you for so long and still love my job.  The cats are a big part of my life and they have become family so God willing, here’s to another 16 years :)

We have been kept busy, cleaning up at the Jean Byrd Centre and here at the Julie Ward Centre.  We are looking at all the enclosures, nothing major, just checking the grass, cleaning the water troughs, building more platforms for our cats, so ja we have been busy.

As always, we must mention the Shamwari Conservation Experience students, they are so helpful to us.  Thank you all for the hard work you all put in and for your great support, keep doing it!

We also had two part- time workers, Odwa and Senithemba, to assist me and Martin with our work. So while Martin is looking after the guests I will be busy with them at the camps, doing whatever is needed.  In the photo we were just shifting some sand to be mixed with gravel.  This was for the contractor carrying out some maintenance work on our night houses. 

Odwa and Senithemba who often assist us

JABULANI AND QUEEN, EX BREEDING FARM LIONS.  ARRIVED SHAMWARI APRIL 2015

Johan our vet darted Queen and Jabulani on the 29th September, for their transfer to our Jean Byrd Centre, and a health check was done on them first.  Both had an ingrown claws on each foot, they were trimmed back.  They are quite elderly lions, and it is not unusual for older cats with stiffer joints to be less able to retract one or two of their claws as well as they used to.  Because they don’t retract, but remain a little curled under, they don’t wear down or they can’t scratch them against a tree. Hopefully this trimming will last many months or even longer.

I’m hoping too that they will love the JB Centre with its beautiful open camps and grasslands, the change will do them well. So do keep an eye open for Headman and Kelvin’s updates to see how they are doing in their new home.   

This is Jabulani, enjoying his food in his house. He has really good teeth and they are so big!
Dr Johan clipping Queen’s ingrown toe nails.
See how the claws have grown in on Jabulani’s paw. Johan also sorted him out

ACHEE AND SINBAD.  ACHEE WAS REHOMED FROM A PRIVATE OWNER IN ROMANIA IN SEPTEMBER 2004; SINBAD WAS RESCUED FROM A ROMANIAN ZOO IN AUGUST 2007

Nothing much has changed in their relationship. Achee still invites Sinbad’s attention and he still ignores her. They are often seen close together though, chilling, which is good to see. 

Achee and Sinbad sleeping together in their hospital camp.
Achee and Sinbad chilling.

JERRY, MAGGIE AND SONJA.  JERRY WAS RESCUED FROM A ROMANIAN CIRCUS IN AUGUST 2007; MAGGIE AND HER SISTER SONJA WERE RESCUED FROM A GERMAN CIRCUS AND ARRIVED AT SHAMWARI IN MAY 2013

I was doing my fence checks one morning and I saw them relaxing in the morning sun. Jerry had just finished running up and down the fence, checking out Sinbad.  This is making Jerry really fit, he has muscles that some of our cats would dream of.  Maggie and Sonja are doing very well too and they really enjoy their little viewing deck, they spend most of their time on it. Soon we going to need to replace the decking as they are often busy sharpening their claws on it, biting it, chewing it, man they just do everything on that deck, they love it! 

Jerry relaxing after some fence patrolling
Can you guess whose eye this is? It is Sonja’s. Is she not beautiful? There is something so special about their eyes, I can just look at them for ages and lose myself in them.

BRUTUS AND MARINA.  BRUTUS WAS RESCUED FROM A FRENCH CIRCUS AND MARINA WAS RESCUED AS A CUB FROM ROMANIA.  BOTH ARRIVED AT SHAMARI APRIL 2008

Brutus and Marina are also doing very well, most of the time they are in the middle of the main camp playing and grooming each other.  They are good together.  Brutus has a limp on his right front leg and Johan will dart him soon to take X-rays.

Brutus and Marina playing in the centre of their camp. It needed the long lens to get this picture.

LEOPARD TRIPLETS, SAMI, ALAM AND THEIR SISTER NIMIRA.  FOUND MOTHERLESS IN SUDAN.  ARRIVED SHAMWARI JULY 2001

The triplets are well, very well actually.  We see them all the time and they look fantastic.  Our guests often get to see them too.  Our guests always enjoy hearing their story and it is a bonus if they get to see them either on their platform or between the bushes in the camp; the triplets are in total control and can only be seen if they want to be seen.  Sometimes they emerge from the bush to have a drink and walk with their tail high up in the air as if they are pointing at something.  Now and then the boys would stop at a bush and spray it with their urine, I guess only boys can do such things the whole day  

The triplets
Martin and I are trying to convince Sidney to take a selfie with us and to get a smile in!
Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906


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