Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

February 08

Julie Ward Centre (Glen)

Sinbad is doing really well and looks great.  He is putting a little weight on. Some of our international students think he is still skinny but we don’t want him to get fat, and with his poor conformation and little limbs, we don’t want him to carry a lot of extra weight.

Weather has been fine and extremely hot on some days, but this does not bother him too much. He has his favourite places where he likes to hang out and relax and these are the days that you will not even get a glimpse of him during the fence patrol.

Food he still loves and will never waste anything.  He loves to chew on the bones and after all is done he will rub himself on the remains and will start to scent mark his turf.

Ma Juah and Achee

They are well and kicking and last week they were hanging around on the other side of the fence to Sinbad.  Achee was being very playful, rolling around on her back and making those meowing like sounds, but neither looked at Sinbad and seemed to ignore him.  Well Sinbad never responds either.  He just looks at them, gently swaying his head from side to side, his tongue sticking out.

I have not seen them trying to mount each other since they got their contraceptive implants last year.  However, as they no longer come into season, maybe this is why they are showing less interest in Sinbad.

Aslan and Stella
They look great; they have started to lose weight. T
They still get very upset when you point a camera to them and they will both charge the fence, so that is why we have been unable to send any pictures to you.

The reduced quantities of meat we are giving them - 15Kg of meat at each weekly feed - is doing them well and they are more eager to get the food on the feeding day and quickly run off with it.

Guests see them on some occasions when they are in a good mood, they will be very vocal when they show themselves and the guests always leave the viewing deck with a big smile.

Triplets – Sami, Alam and Nimira

Well I think these three guys were very happy to have seen Virginia Lundin on her visits to us between 9th Feb – 11th Feb. (When the cubs had been found motherless in Sudan it was Virginia Lundin who arranged their move to Shamwari and continues to fund-raise for their life-time care.)  She loves all the cats but has a special place in her heart for the triplets of course.

Sami is still the top cat, Alam the gentleman and this Virginia got to see during the feeding. Nimira she is not an easy girl and she does not tolerate Sami’s bullying behavior. Most of the time if Sami doesn’t get what he wants he will go to Alam and be a big bully and he then will feel good about himself.

Food they still love and now we feed them separately just to keep the peace, Sami first then Nimira and last would be Alam, because if you feed Alam second Nimira is going to be very upset and give him few lessons on how good a lady can be with her nails!

Pitou and Sirius
 Finally, we got then off guard the other day when Virginia Lundin was here. Den and I were doing a late afternoon fence patrol to see if all was okay with cats and that was on the 9th Feb. Virginia was going to visit us at 1730hrs with the friends she was traveling with. Surprisingly Sirius and Pitou were out on their jungle gym! I managed to get the picture while Den was on the deck looking out for them in case they should move into the thickets. I managed to get two pictures and as soon as they noticed the camera flash they were gone.  This is strange as apparently they seemed not to mind being photographed when in Monaco Zoo.  Sirius was the first one to go, however after a few minutes Pitou returned to sleep on her spot. She was not ready to give that one up!

Den, Sidney and I have heard them on many occasions growling and when we go up to the camp we would see Pitou walking around the camp growling and as if she was looking for Sirius.   I don’t know how to interpret this.

During feeding we do not see them, they only come out when we have gone to get their food. The next day when we see them both their bellies would be full, so they do eat their portions.

Jean Byrd Centre 20.2.08
Report by Bongani Bavuma

It has been cool for the rest of this week and sometimes raining. The temperatures are always in the low twenties.

Almost every morning Kuma has been on his jungle gym. Whenever I called him he would slightly move his tail just to say he is still alive. He does not move around as much as I would expect him to, all he does is sleep on the jungle gym.  He is still on the diet and looks slimmer than last week.  Maybe he is conserving energy!

On one occasion while I was on the viewing deck with guest, he was sleeping on his jungle gym ignoring us the whole time. His attention was on a fly that flew around him and it looked like it was irritating him. He was really agitated about this and he occasionally growled trying to use his paw to get the fly out of his face.

She has been more active than the other cats and when sometimes she hides behind a big log in her camp, her curiosity as to where we are helps us to find her.

She has started stalking the Three J’s when they are not watching.  She does not mind if the boys see her but she always hides when Jools come close to the fence.  She sometimes roars so loud that the three J’s hide away. When ever she roars she always walk around her camp as if she dares anyone to challenge her. I think sometimes she fiddles with the electric fence, because sometimes I find faults on her fence, but not serious.  

Three J’s

These guys a gang.  They always get together before they do anything. Sometimes they even wait for each other before they chase the Land Rover for food on the feeding day.

The boys are very affectionate with each other.  I saw them the other day brushing their heads together in greeting.

One day this week I was with the guests on the viewing deck that overlooks their camp.  James was not visible, only Jerry and Jools could be seen and they did not seem to mind us being there.  We took a couple of pictures, but just as we went to leave, Jools sat up and slowly walked away. It was obvious that she was looking for something. She was sniffing the grass and looking around, sometimes stopping to listen. She went behind the bush and disappeared. We heard a noise coming from the direction she had taken; Jerry also heard the noise and went to investigate. As soon as he got there, James appeared and pounced on Jerry playfully and then all three greeted each other.  Unfortunately they did not come back and tell us what they had been hearing and smelling!

They were good at feed time.  All of them took a piece of meat and went their separate ways when we fed them. The following day Jools was so full that she looked pregnant. She spent the day bossing the boys around and chasing them away from the shade.

Julie Ward Centre by Glen Vena

We have just been up there with him, he was sitting under a tree relaxing. He looks cool. It is a bit warm today, but there is a light breeze blowing.

We fed on the 26th Feb. Sinbad was so eager to get his food. He was waiting by the feeding gates and he was licking his lips,

We did not keep him waiting, gave him his 13Kg of beef. For a few seconds he struggled to get it off the ground as he has worn-down canine teeth and it is hard for him to get a proper grip on it.  However, when he got that grip he ran with the meat into the bushes as if he did not even feel the weight of that portion, he is really strong now!

Weather was hot in the morning and late in the afternoon we had a huge cloud burst and the skies opened up and the water was falling.  This happened just as we were leaving Sinbad and the time was 1430hrs but this did not stop us as our cats were hungry, so off we went to feed the other cats.

Ma Juah and Achee
Ma Juah and Achee are at the back of their enclosure most of the time sitting together, so they are rarely seen by the guests. When we take guests up to their viewing deck, sometimes you will get a glimpse of a tail in the air but that is all.

Den reports that they too were very excited at feeding time, and MJ was jumping on to Achee, and Achee pulling MJ by her left ear. When Den gave them their food MJ was the first one to take a portion, but Achee wanted to be a bit bossy so she took MJ’s portion and ran of with it.  Well, MJ took the other ribcage, weighing about 15Kg, dragged it under a qwarry tree and started to feed.  She did not seem happy that we were there, and was snarling at us so we left them in peace.
The rain was still continuing to fall, and the Born Free Land Rover was doing good job and did not get stuck in that clay soil, but we were sliding about every time we had to get out and walk over to each enclosure and we were soon covered in mud.  We need the rain though, and I do not complain speaking for myself!

Aslan and Stella
Den reports that during the weekend he did not get a glimpse of them as they remained in the middle of their camp, but they were vocal most of the time.

However today (27th Feb) Den and his guests saw Stella on her way to drink water. He confirmed that she looks good. Aslan was not to be seen and most of the time during the fence patrol we are rarely lucky to see them.

Several visitors still ask after them, and if they are still alive and how they are doing, but only a few lucky guests ever get a glimpse of them.
During feeding on this occasion, Aslan was very relaxed and calm. He actually let Stella take the first portion of meat and he took the next one.  He took his food up and and ran with it into the bushes. So I can confirm that there is nothing wrong physically with him; he is as strong as an ox maybe two ox’s!!   

Pitou and Sirius
Den and I got to see Pitou today (27th).  She remained relaxed around us and even though we were only about 10m from her she didn’t even move. She just kept on lying under the qwarry bush, relaxing in the shade.

Sirius – man he is another one! He is so on his nerves, it’s like we are scarecrows to him.  As soon as he sees us he runs off into the bushes where we can hear him but not see him.

Den reported that on the 23rd he got a nice glimpse of them lying together on their jungle gym.  However as soon as Sirius woke up and saw the guests on the viewing platform he jumped off the jungle gym as fast as he could and ran into the thickets to look for cover.   We are several metres from him when on the viewing platform, and in the zoo the guests would be much closer to him, and he didn’t have any where he could go to hide, but for some reason he remains nervous of people.  Pitou remained on the deck looking while Den told their story to his guests, and seemed quite relaxed about it all.

At feed times they still wait until we have driven off before they come and take their food (we went back after we were done feeding the other cats to see what they were up to and we saw them both in different spots eating very fast as if someone was going to take their meat.)

Triplets -– Sami, Alam & Nimira
They are the coolest cats!!!!

During feeding Sami was a big bully, he tried to get Alam and Nimira’s food, but luckily we fed them in three different spots so this gives each of them time to run off with their portion.    

Jean Byrd Centre (Bongani)

The temperature has been very high in the afternoons (35ºC), however cooler in the mornings (18ºC)


He has been the most visible animal in the mornings, however then he disappears in the afternoon. He always sits on the jungle gym waiting for me to come up with the guests to him, unfortunately I couldn’t bring any today as we had no visitors.  Sometimes a ranger will come at 0835hrs instead of 0815hrs and by that time he is taking a stroll around the top section of his enclosure and scent marking his territory. Kuma is so clever, I think he is timing us, because if you do not get to his deck by 0830hrs, forget it you will not see him.

Shada is continuing to interact with the Three J’s.  The other day she approached their fence, perhaps for more of the hide and seek they have been playing with each other.  I expected the Three J’s to chase her away before she got close to their fence, but they had other ideas, they all crouched low waiting for her to get closer.

As soon as she got close to where they were hiding she just roared and instead of charging the fence and trying to fight her, they all ran away!   As they ran off they looked back to see where mum was.  Normally she leads her pride, this time it was the boys!

I’m not sure was it the roaring that made them run.  . At this stageI have not seen or heard the Three Jay’s roar.

Three J’s (Jools, James and Jerry)

These guys are family; anything they do they always involve each other even if the third one will just be watching.

There have been no signs of them mating since Jools got the contraceptive implant.

They love sleeping and they are very good at this!  They sleep so heavily that when I do my fence patrol I often have to clap my hands to wake them to see if they still alive.  They will only twitch their ears or tails and sleep on!

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

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