Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Julie Ward Centre Diary - June 2011

Written by Glen Vena

All is well here, just cold and we’ve been having lots of rain lately. Well that is very good news to us as the Bushman’s River’s level has increased, I‘m sure that puts a smile on every person’s face on the reserve.

Struggling with lots of grass that is growing uncontrollably these days, with all the rain, so I’ve been trying to maintain it by trimming with the bush cutter around the camps.  I have to keep that voltage on all electric fences round the camps at above 5000v, so it’s been crazy as the vegetation touching the electric fencing plays a big role in bringing the voltage down. However we have it under control.

The new land Rover is doing well and she is keeping up with the tough life on the reserve and she has impressed me big time.  I’ve still have not named her. Feels like I’m cheating on the old one that I used, Td5, she was the only one I ever named.  She was very special, she is missed. Funny part is that I saw her in Port Elizabeth, not far from where my love (Glen’s girlfriend, Enthea) works and she was parked outside  and she looked so good I had a tear in my eye!

Man, can you believe I’ve been sick too, eish the flu knocked me out for a whole week, never been away from work for so long unless Abagail, our Centre Manager, kicks me out to take leave. I had just got back - then Sidney, who cares for the cats with me, had the flu too.  Just shows this winter is a bit colder than the others and it has been having an impact on some of us.  On another note, all cats are doing well in these cold conditions, even the old ones - I mean the very old ones that I worry about every day!  Nature hey! Never understand her.

Sirius

Rehomed from Monaco Zoo in Jan 2008

Sirius looks well, although I never see much of him, and our guests are very lucky if they see him too.  This leopard loves his privacy.  As long as he is content and he lets me see him, to check he is okay, I’m happy.

Sinbad

Rescued from Romanian zoo in 2007

He is good, looks well, and eats well, roars well and very loud too! He is really cool!  Cutting back the undergrowth in his camp is next on the to-do list as it is bit overgrown, as you can see.  Sinbad loves his privacy too though, just like his next-door neighbour Sirius, they both enjoy being able to hide in the undergrowth.

Photo Glen Vena/BFF
Took this one after I had walked around the camp three times looking for him then he just appeared out of the tall grass and I mean he is not a big fella, so I was very relieved to have seen him

Ma Juah and Achee

Ma Juah was rescued from a zoo in Liberia in 2004 and Achee was rehomed from a private home in Romania in the same year.

The girls are fine, I have been seeing Achee more and more at the front of her camp, rather than her hanging out at the top of the hill, and now and then Sinbad would come to the fence line where their two enclosures get close together to have a look at her.  As usual MJ would come very fast around the corner to see what is going on as she is very protective over Achee and she can be very aggressive towards Sinbad - but not always.  It depends on her mood at the time.

Photo BFF/Glen Vena
Here is Achee hiding from me and she sat there not even moving, so this is the best picture that I took out of the many that came out blurry
Photo BFF/Glen Vena
Here is MJ not looking at happy with me calling her. She has just raised her head from the deep sleep she was in. To make matters worst, the flies were irritating her. During winter we are not supposed to have flies, it could be the rain, as it is green and moist now. The funny thing with Achee and Ma Juah – when it rains they prefer to be out in it, grooming themselves.

The triplets – Sami, Alam and Nimira.  Rescued from Sudan in 2001

They look lovely all three of them and can you all believe this July they have been with us for 10 years.  I have been so lucky to be here with them from when they were little ‘til now.  Time flies, hey!

I still have to put Sami in the hospital camp during feeding as he loves to take meat that does not belong to him and make it his, such a boy!   Sami thinks he is still the top cat but, I have been watching Nimira, she does not take any nonsense from him at all, she sorts him out first time.

Alam is the sweetest cat ever, he is playful, and he always stays out of Nimira’s way.  Most of the time you will see him with Sami and for some reason he likes it to groom Sami and Sami always returns the favour too.

Nimira checking me out during a fence patrol, she looks great I think
The boys. It is Sami nearest to me

Aslan, rescued by Born Free from a zoo in Greece in 1995, and then relocated to Shamwari in 1999, and Stella, rescued from another zoo in Greece in 2000

They are elderly but you never let your guard down with these two big cats, Aslan charged me one morning during a fence patrol. I nearly fell backwards.  Ag, I got too close as I was trying to take a picture of him in the mist, well he clearly did not like it!

Stella she is good.  Now and then I would hear her giving a small cough and this I did report to vets and keeping a close eye on them all the time.

Photo BFF/Glen Vena
Here is that picture of Aslan I was talking about, he reminds me of his younger days with his main like that, well it was bigger then, but he is still handsome.
Photo BFF/Glen Vena
Here are they together later in the morning and Stella was behind Aslan

This last picture I took around 9.30am I was just finishing with my fence patrol and I was by the triplets and I just looked over Shamwari and she was covered in a blanket of mist, how I loved seeing that, it always makes my day!

The Jean Byrd Centre Diary >

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


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