Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

November 08 Julie Ward Centre Pt1

Leopard cubs
Alam and Sami playing in the sun

Summary 1st till 13th November

Monday 3rd November
Temperature: windy and cool, 19ºC

0815am: Dan - I had 5 guests who were checking out earlier then normal, however they wanted to come and visit the Born Free Centre before they left, as they said they had heard so much about it. We were also lucky on the walk as we got to see Pitou and the normally shy Sirius, not to forget Sinbad too.  The guests were really impressed with the work we were doing here.

0830am: Glen - after Dan had left with his guests, the other guests arrived, some were from Amakhala Game reserve and some were from Bushmans River Lodge (a lodge inside Shamwari).

As you all know me I talk for ages and very passionately too and even before we had started the tour the guests were emotional.

We went to the triplet enclosure first.  The cats were interested in checking us out as the Centre had been closed for two weeks while we did repairs to our viewing decks, and when these human-friendly leopards heard voices they came down to greet us.  All talking stopped as our guests watched the leopards walk down the hill towards us.  They came to the front of the deck and Alam and Nimira started grooming each other while Sami scent-marked his turf, then jumped on his ‘jungle gym’ and had a good look at us.   These were the only cats we got to see.

1100am: Dan -  I went on to do a fences patrol and to see how the cats were doing. By this time I knew everyone would probably be asleep, but I just wanted to see what they were up to!

My observations during the fence patrol:

Nimira - was at the back of the camp by this time and she was trying to get to a black headed heron that was not far from her enclosure.  She was pacing in frustration, wanting to get at it, so I went to chase the heron away.  Nimira stood and watched as he flew off.Alam - was just rolling around and playing with his pawsSami - was sleepingStella and Aslan were in the hospital camp, they were just lying there under a tree and all looked well. Achee - was sleeping in the mini boma that was in her hospital camp Ma Juah - was leaning her back against the water trough, trying to get herself cooler.  Both Achee and MJ were sleeping when I saw them so I did not disturb them.Sinbad - he was not far from the viewing deck, maybe he came down to drink water at the trough there; he too looked great.Pitou - she is well and I saw her too marking her territory. Sirius - he I did not see.

1100am: Glen -  A horrible part of my job: I had to go and shoot some cows as the farmer could not do it himself.  The cows had broken their backs, so there was not much the farmer could do to save them.   This is food for our lions.

In the afternoon we fed the cats, and all went well and the cats got their food happily.  Then we had to rush over to the Jean Byrd Centre and feed the cats there.

Tuesday 4th November

Sinbad the lion
Sinbad - early in the morning!

Temperature: 22ºC but cold this morning.

0800am : Glen; I went to attend the conservation meeting we have each week at Shamwari.

0900am: Dan; I went to to check the cats and to do my fence patrol, I did not see the cats, only thing I could see was either a tail waving at me or a paw!

Sirius - I walked around the camp and the only thing I could hear coming from the direction of his favourite spot was the sound of bones breaking as he crunched on his left-overs.
Pitou - she was not far from the hospital camp and she was just sitting there looking at me or shall I say she was posing! I then walked along the fence-line towards Sinbad’s camp and she got up and gave me a look that said ‘back off!’.  I think her food was somewhere close to where I was walking.
Sinbad - I tell you all, this lion loves the bush.  He is The Man.  Even if he is small he has lots of character in him! When I saw him he was about five metres from his food or meat, I think he heard me coming or he saw me. I wish you all could have seen this: he just took two jumps towards his food and he was there and he started to growl, telling me to back off, that this was his food. I then slowly walked away, backwards so I was still facing him, and as I was walking away he started to calm down, phew!
Achee – I did not see her.  She is not a big fan of the sun she prefers to keep cool at all times and she loves to be in the mini boma or under the qwarrie trees that are in the main camp.
- just like Achee she too not a fan of the sun, however they are always together, so they will be lying together in the shade somewhere.
Sami – he usually comes out to say hello, but this time he was hiding, I think the food was too good.
Namira - I just got a glimpse of her lifting her head and she was busy eating, Glen always say to never disturb a lady when busy, you do not want to see what she is capable of doing! So I always take his advice.
Alam - he is a cool cat! He was just sleeping not bothered with anything happening around him.   
Aslan - I did not see him and with his temper I do not want to go too close to him when I do not have a back up.
Stella - I did not see her either.  She is always close to him.  They were vocal earlier this morning.

1600pm: Glen - just as you think you are done with your work,something happens.  A pipe burst in Achee and MJ’s hospital camp. Luckily we were there to see this as we would have lost 10 000 litres of water over the night. So we fixed it temporally til tomorrow and then we will get the other parts we need to fix it properly.

Wednesday 5th November

Temperature: 26ºC, very humid!

0815am: Glen -  6 guests came with Vuyo the ranger!  (Vuyo was on the Born Free team until he decided to become a ranger.)  We saw Pitou and Sirius and as it was already getting hot, most of the cats were not out.

Thursday 6th November

Photo BFF/Vena/Shamwari
The beautiful Ma Juah

Temperature: 30ºC, very hot!

1000am: Glen - we went to the freezer room to take the food out and get it ready for the feeding we were going to do with the Born Free Challenge group that was walking through the Shamwari game reserve and at the same time raising money for BFF.

1345pm: Glen - we stared the feeding and Jools, one of the ladies who had adopted Ma Juah and Achee she was very thrilled to have seen them and she said they looked great! Otherwise all went well.  We even got to see Sinbad and he was really laid back this time during feeding

Friday 7th November
Temperature: 30ºC hot and a dry wind with a bit thunder in the late afternoon.

0745hrs: Glen; there was no guests coming to the centre, so I went on to see what the cats were up to.

All were asleep and I was not lucky like Dan to get a paw or tail waving at me!  That made me feel alone the whole day!

1100am: No guests

1400pm: Glen - I went to Madolos Retreat to get the trailer with all the supplies for the campers that were walking through Shamwari ( BFF Challenge).  This I had to drop off at the area they were going to sleep over that evening. This was fun to do and was also fun to spend a bit of time with them.

Saturday 8th November
Temperature: 25ºC a bit cool and heavy clouds coming from PE, however the wind is a bit strong, might blow them away.

0900am: Glen - I had some BFF supporters,  Bill McCreath and his wife.  Lovely people, the last time I saw them was four years ago I think, but it felt longer.  They had a good time and they saw some of the cats.  I thanked them for their on going support towards our rescued cats.

1100am: Glen - more BFF supporters arrived!  I took them around too and they saw the cats and by this time we were talking so much I lost track of time.

1400pm: Glen - this was the only time that I could go and spend with the cats after being so busy this morning, otherwise all went well and the cats were well.

The only thing I noted was that there was a fault on the triplets enclosure and this needed fixing. This probably happened after a heron tried to land on the fence and at the same time created a fault, there were lots of feathers on the ground. Well I cannot confirm this, but was it Nimira that got this poor bird?  I have seen her eying them! There were such a lot of feathers around, and even if the bird had got shocked on the electric fence, you wouldn’t see so many feathers.  You could see that these were plucked out.

Nimira was not to be seen either, just the boys.

Sunday 9th November

Namira Photo - Shamwari/BFF/Vena
The elusive Namira

Temperature 28ºC, very hot and no clouds! No wind! No rain!

1000am: Dan - Glen and I went to check water after our guests had departed, and check the perimeter fence and that took for ever as it is 5km long and we were walking it, checking for holes, anything. I know rifles are good when you need them but do they need to be so heavy?!

1030am: Glen – two more BFF supporters arrived, Tracy and Rob, keen to see our project and they wanted to see our project, as they have something similar back at home - but with domestic cats.  I ended up spending two hours with them talking about BFF and our ethics. Luckily they had their own car and they were not in a hurry to get anywhere, otherwise I would have been in trouble with their ranger! It is a Sunday so we took things slowly!

Monday 10th November

0730am: Glen - I did the fence patrol to check on the cats while Dan was busy with the guests. All was in order, however we had only one mission today and that was to get Sirius into his hospital camp so that we could clean the main camp out.  Sirius is very private and doesn’t like to be seen. The whole team was going to assist on this and make it happen, but that is for later in the day. We went to the freezer room and sorted the meat out and prepare for this afternoon when we invade Pitou and Sirius’s main camp with all that we have!

1400: Glen - Dan, Sidney, Abagail and I went to get Sirius into his hospital camp. Well, to our surprise, it was not difficult at all, although we had to hide and Sid did had to charge the sliding gate as he was closing it, so that Sirius could not run back to the main camp!

That done and out of the way, Sid remained on guard watching them, to check Pitou and Sirius were not up to any funny stuff whilst we were in there!
Dan and I went into the leopards den! Dan started on the bones he could find, I went straight to the water trough and started cleaning it.
At that stage I had to radio Abs to bring a bucket to us and this she did.
Must say that they are neat eaters these leopards, they clean their bones out completely and do not leave anything for the ants!

Temperature: 24ºC Haha, it is raining! Dan - These are my observations when I checked the cats:

Aslan - I saw him briefly and he looks good, I think he heard me doing my fence patrol and he came to check me out but he did not stay long.
Stella - she is more active when it is wet/raining.  She was following Aslan and she had a bone in her mouth, maybe her breakfast!
Sami - he looks good, too good Dr. Murray say.   We are still feeding to the strict rules that the doc gave us but Sami is just not losing any of that fat he has. We also still feed him alone. He stays in the hospital camp for the night after feeding and only comes out later, and in that way we try to make sure he eats only what he is given and does not steal someone else’s food.
Alam - he looks good.  He loves his brother so much and as soon as I open the sliding gates to let Sami out, Alam runs to him and they groom each other.  Then Alam will go and check in the hospital camp to see if Sami has left any meat and Sami will go into the main camp to see who left what food behind.
Nimira - well she loves her brothers even though they are so mischievous. She was also by the gate waiting for me to open up for Sami.
Achee and Ma Juah - they were in the hospital camp and playing with each other, they could be in season as they are due to get their contraceptive implants replaced. Ja, they were very playful with each other, however I did not see them spending time with Sinbad.
Sirius and Pitou - I did not see them properly as they were almost in the middle of the camp, I could only see their tails, but both were together from what I could make out.
Sinbad - he was trying to sun-bathe! He loves days that are not too hot.
Wednesday 12th November
Dan - Observations during patrol and my comments:
Pitou and Sirius - they both look great I got to see them both today! Sirius was close to the water trough and he was eating grass I think he was trying to get something out of the tummy by vomiting or regurgitating it up maybe a fur ball.  He looked great but as soon as he saw me he ran towards the hospital camp.
Sinbad, he was just sleeping and he looked well and alive!
Aslan and Stella - Sidney saw them when he went up with his visitors, he looks good, he commented, and he was right by the fence and he was vocal, but not aggressive.
MJ and Achee- they sleeping but when they heard me Achee got up and came towards me, I think she wanted to play, she was rolling around in front of me.  However she walked off and joined MJ doing the sleeping thing.
Sami, Alam and Nimira - they all three well and most of the time they are out for the guests and they are very naughty sometimes.

Thursday 13th November
Temperature: 20º and it is raining.

0815am: Dan - when I was showing the guests around we saw Pitou, Sinbad, the triplets and MJ and Ache.  Not to forget Aslan, he was very vocal and the guest thought it sounded as if a wild lion was inside our sanctuary.

Achee - photo Vena/BFF/Shamwari
Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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