Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Julie Ward Centre Blog

September 2017

Written by Glen Vena, Animal Care Manager

Hello all.

I have been away for most of August so Martin Miritiawo was holding the fort for us at our two rescue centres and overseeing most of my duties.

It feels really good to be back and to see all our cats that we care for. They all look great and healthy.  Some are getting old, and with getting old we all experience different ailments, for example both Brutus and Jerry have a similar limp on both their left front legs.  Rest assured all, that Johan our vet is doing his very best to keep that as comfortable as can be. Thus far all the cats are enjoying their natural enclosures here at Shamwari. Life is good.

Our Animal Care team at the Jean Byrd Centre.  It is not often that we are all together, so I had to take this picture.
Our Animal Care team at the Jean Byrd Centre. It is not often that we are all together, so I had to take this picture.

OUR RESCUED LIONS AND LEOPARDS

Jerry, Maggie and Sonja.   Jerry was rescued from a Romanian zoo and arrived at Shamwari in August 2007; Maggie and Sonja were confiscated from a German circus and arrived at Shamwari in January 2015

Maggie
Maggie

Maggie came to say hello to Martin just as he was taking the picture. What a lovely girl she is. Maggie and Sonja are both thriving here at Shamwari, well maybe Jerry has a lot to do with it, lots of loving.   Most of the time our guests who visit us will be lucky enough to see them.  They will usually be sleeping near the viewing deck, or Jerry will be competing with Nelson on who can roar the loudest.  Boys!

Maggie, standing, and Sonja
Maggie, standing, and Sonja

Nelson, rescued from a French zoo and arrived at Shamwari in May 2017

When Martin first started getting Nelson in the frame to take this photo, Nelson gave Martin that lion look!  You can still see it.

Nelson is so handsome.  All our guests who visit are so impressed with his looks.  And not to forget his loud roar too.  It makes all the other Born Free lions roar loudly as well, and everyone will stand on the viewing deck, quietly listening to them.  Some will be moved to tears to hear the sound and feel the vibrations on the platform.  That wild sound seems to help people understand how important it is that wild animals should be free, and they commend our work for rescuing these animals and also protecting species for future generations to come. Nelson may never join his brothers in the wild, but in a small way his powerful roar is helping keep his brothers and sisters there. 

Nelson
Nelson

Sami and Alam, found as motherless cubs in Sudan. They arrived at Shamwari in July 2001

The boys are doing really well.  I managed to take a photo and some video footage of what they do when we have cleaned their indoor house.  Martin and I had just finished cleaning it and we let them back in before the floor had dried, as they love to go on to the wet floor and rub themselves on it and re-mark the whole area with their urine.  Ahhh, it is a priceless moment.

Alam, enjoying rolling on the damp, newly-cleaned concrete
Alam, enjoying rolling on the damp, newly-cleaned concrete
Sami, grooming his brother Alam… they are very close to each other
Sami, grooming his brother Alam… they are very close to each other

Achee and Sinbad

Achee was rehomed from a private owner in Romania in September 2004, and Sinbad was rescued from a Romanian zoo in august 2007

Here is Sinbad looking good.  He was running with me or watching me doing my fence patrol.   He was so full of life, marking his territory as seen in this picture, spraying the aloe with his urine. Achee was in the background where I could not see her.

Sinbad
Sinbad

Brutus and Marina

Brutus was rescued from a French circus and Marina was rescued as a sickly cub in romania.  Both arrived at shamwari in April 2008

Brutus and Marina are the sweetest couple, so loving and caring in many ways. Marina will be always close to Brutus and so gentle with him too.  It is lovely to see them together.

 

Marina and Brutus
Marina and Brutus

OTHER NEWS

We had a visit from Born Free’s Wildlife Consultant, Dr Cheryl Mvula, earlier this month.  Cheryl wanted to spend some time with us, so we could let her know any challenges we had in running the centres effectively, and any ways we could work even more closely with Born Free in the UK.  Cheryl also wanted to visit the local community living alongside the Born Free Rescue and Education Centres, to see any benefits they get from Born Free’s presence. So, Cheryl spent several hours with us.  It was a fun afternoon seeing someone getting involved in what we call the ‘behind the scenes’ work that most people don’t get to see. 

It was good to hear how important we are, and how important is the time we spend with guests and visitors, and the stories we share with them and the kids and students.  They are hearing first hand from those of us doing the work and caring for our rescued lions and leopards. 

Dr Cheryl Mvula and our Animal Care team – I am behind the camera!
Dr Cheryl Mvula and our Animal Care team – I am behind the camera!
Dr Cheryl Mvula joined Martin and me when we were cleaning some of our enclosures and removing a wall that was not needed any more.   We are a small team, but no matter how big the task we make it work.
Dr Cheryl Mvula joined Martin and me when we were cleaning some of our enclosures and removing a wall that was not needed any more. We are a small team, but no matter how big the task we make it work.

Until next time all, be safe.

G

 

The Jean Byrd Centre Diary

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


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