Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Jean Byrd Centre Diary - April 2011

Blog by Martin Miritiawo

Jean Byrd Centre diary


We had some special guests this month.  Jean Byrd, our sponsor, and her friends came to visit us just after the Easter holiday.

The picture above was taken after a wonderful tour with the students from Stenden University.  It was a good day, everyone was in a joyful mood after seeing all the cats relaxing. The students were delighted by Marina, seeing her throwing herself on top of Brutus while he was sleeping.

Brutus and Marina, Brutus was rescued from a French circus in 2008 and Marina was rescued from Romania, also in 2008

Brutus and Marina - photo BFF/Shamwari

Brutus is too lazy these days to move around much, he spend most of the time sleeping in the shade and rolling himself into the grass, but all this changes when he hears the sound of the Land Rover. He will be so energetic running up and down expecting his meat. He really likes his food and eats it eagerly. In the mornings Marina likes to sleep in front of the viewing platform, but as it starts to get hot she would move to the top or in the bushes which are in the middle of their camp where there is more cover. She is a good girl these days by not washing her meat in the water trough or scooping the water out of the trough.   It saves us a messy cleaning job!

Well, their bond is growing stronger and stronger everyday. They need each other, I see them more often together playing hide and seek in the tall grass and following each other. When walking behind Brutus she likes to pull his hind legs.

Shada, rescued from a French circus in 2006

Shada - Photo BFF/Shamwari

These days Shada spends most of her time at the bottom right corner of the camp something seems to attract her attention there, it could be impalas grazing outside. It’s very rare for her these days to go up to the top of the camp. Sometimes she will come to relax under the shade close to the middle of the camp.

She too becomes excited when she sees a vehicle bringing food, she would run along the vehicle wanting her meat. Recently after feeding we saw her running towards the middle of her enclosure to where she had left her meat. She grabbed it and started running around, she was having fun by herself and seemed to enjoy what she was doing.

Kuma, rescued from Abidjan Zoo in 1999

Kuma - Photo BFF/Shamwari

Kuma loves his food very much; he doesn’t hesitate to come all the way down to get it. During the day Kuma loves to be at the top of his enclosure where there are more trees to give him adequate cover.

When we were cleaning his hospital camp water trough once, he came and sat close to the fence watching us.  He appeared relaxed and comfortable with our presence and fell asleep while we were doing our work.  He seems to like attention now; even with guests around he likes to be noticed

Leda and her daughter Rhea, rescued from Limassol Zoo in 2009

Leda likes to hide herself especially when she is full; she prefers to go and hide in the middle of the camp or to sit on top of the ‘jungle gym’. And when she is hungry she does not hide herself but follows us around the camp.

Rhea is not as aggressive as before.   She is protective over her food but she doesn’t leap at the fence – she doesn’t like us to get close to the fence though, when she’s got food.   She is using both hospital camps and her main enclosure. She doesn’t show much interest in interacting with her mother, Leda.

Photo - BFF / Shamwari
Photo - BFF / Shamwari

Jools and her son Jerry, rescued from Romania in 2007

Jools and Jerry - Photo BFF/Shamwari

The 2J’s are doing well; Jools has recovered a lot from her skin condition, she looks well these days, she is also eating her food well. Seeing them sitting close to the fence near the water trough looking towards the road is a very good sign that they want their food. They always naturally separate from each other when they get food which means there is never any fighting over food between them.

See the Julie Ward Centre Big Cat Diary

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

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