Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Julie Ward Centre Diary - Feb 2012

By Glen Vena


All has been well most times but we had a few bad times too, and I guess feeling miserable is allowed this month. On the other hand I trust all of you are well and thank you for the ongoing support over the years; without you all this would not be possible.

Well I’m sure you have received the sad news by now, Aslan has passed on  - he was euthanased on 10th February – see

This was a very difficult time for me and I still have not moved on. It is not easy seeing an old friend’s health go backwards, and every day you see this. I know I told you last month that things were looking up again and that he was moving on. However I could not see what was happening in his heart but I could see something was missing … and I knew his mate Stella formed a big part of this. He seriously started to lose weight and did not want to eat just like Stella in her last days.

Those of you who have had the privilege to care for an animal will know the worst part is letting go as you get so attached to them and that is why I feel so gloomy.  I know this is just selfishness, but they became family to me.

I have a big brother that shares my interest of the BFF cats and Ian has been very kind to me and always there to lend a shoulder if I need one at that time, thanks bro.

Our cats are Ambassadors on behalf of the many other big cats kept in terrible conditions around the world and I know for sure they have changed many people’s attitudes towards the unimaginable cruelty that is going on. NO ONE should keep their eyes closed and in this way it will come to an end one day, that I know. Aslan and Stella and many other cats are still living on in our hearts and the fight is going on to end this suffering, they have came a long way and they have walked the longest walk with us and I’m so happy and proud they made me part of this walk.  I’m so blessed, I’m so privileged in many ways, so JA, I’m happy in a way but it still hurts.

What makes me happier too is that he is RESTING here in his mother land Africa, and in my opinion, there is none like her, Africa. Go well old friend.

Aslan - Photo BFF/Vena
This a very old picture of Aslan that I took in 2008 and this is how I will always remember him, he gave me goose bumps on my body when he roared and that charge he used to give me that had me stumbling backwards and falling over, there are so many things I will remember about him.
Aslan Stella - Photo BFF/Vena
Good old days - also taken in 2008


Sirius is looking good.  My colleagues Martin and Christine say they see him all the time during their tours with the school kids; well I’m not that lucky to see him with my guests, so it is good to get their feedback.

During all feeding sessions I will see him and it is always a pleasure.  He never stays long he would just grab food and he will be gone.

In general he is good and there is nothing bad to report or to be worried about, however I must say , at 22 years old, he too is one of the elderly cats we care for and I’m always concerned about them even when there is nothing wrong with them, as anything could happen at any given time.



Sinbad looks great and even though the heat has been a problem for him in the past, he has been doing really well as we were experiencing temperatures of 38⁰C on some days.

Takes his food well and always he is very protective over it.

One Saturday morning during my fence walk I managed to get some footage on my mobile phone of him walking round his enclosure and dranking some water and I managed to get this on my mobile recording camera and to my surprise the footage is really rather cool so I uploaded it on to my face book profile and it was a big hit. You can see it below.


The girls are both well and looking good; we have been seeing them a lot lately. However MJ had to be darted on 23rd February, to treat her lick granuloma and since then we have had to separate Achee and Ma Juah, to ensure the tablets we are putting in Ma Juah’s food do not get taken by Achee by mistake!  Achee is not at all happy with this arrangement and is hanging round the hospital camp, wanting to get in to her friend. 

Fortunately Ma Juah is responding to treatment as the sore is getting smaller and there are some hairs growing on the area where she was licking it a lot. Here are some pictures of Ma Juah getting her treatment at our veterinary hospital.

  • Ma Juahs operation - photo BFF/Shamwari
  • Ma Juahs operation - photo BFF/Shamwari


They looking good, but they have been very naughty again, damaging the water pipes that run through their main enclosure.  It looks like they wanted to have a shower as the pipe was full of bite marks, so that needed some serious fixing - which I did just to find out that the very next day they had ripped it out.  Sidney and I dug deeper to bury the pipe and for now it is still intact. 

Jean Byrd Centre

Catch up with the latest on Shada, Kuma and the other big cats at the Jean Byrd Centre >

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

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