Warm greetings from us and all the big cats at the Julie Ward and Jean Byrd centres here at Shamwari!

March was a great, packed month at the Julie Ward centre, with so much going on! A group of students from Penn State University, USA, accompanied by Professor Neil Brown, visited us. Professor Brown brings student groups to visit the sanctuary each year. They are true advocates of what we stand for and the work we do for rescued big cats.

We also attended a training session on chainsaw operation. We gained more knowledge around best practices for operating chainsaws, especially related to health and safety.

At the Jean Byrd centre, we have had time to clean the centre, garden and do some maintenance work. We also had a visit from the Shamwari Conservation Experience group who assisted us with clearing the big cat areas.

Shamwari diary

Big cat Diary



Our boy Ciam is doing great. We see him almost every day. His favourite spot is on top of his platform, but he sometimes likes to lie next to his water trough. We see his wild lion instincts coming back slowly.

Ciam is still growing and it’s wonderful to see the small changes - like his mane that is growing darker now. Some days we see him playing and looking very joyful, and that makes us very happy because it surely means he is enjoying his new home.


Leda and Rhea


The two female leopards are going strong. When it’s hot, Leda usually chooses to be under a needle bush. She is a favourite of our visitors and they never leave without commenting on our beautiful old lady.

Rhea is doing great, she loves to hide. Sometimes we see her by luck when we do our security checks during the morning. Rhea sometimes likes to sit on top of her shelter, looking over the reserve.





We see a lot of Queen. She likes to lie under the trees when it’s hot and spends cooler days close to her shelter or under the jungle gym. She sometimes roars at Jora and Black and they join in. We would love to know what they are saying! Queen is a big lioness and still in fantastic shape.


Djora and Black


Our boys are thriving. They are always together. In the mornings, they like to be in front of the viewing deck and when it heats up they move to sleep where there is more shade. Some mornings they are very active and they play and chase each other. They have a close bond.





One morning, during security checks, I saw Marina busy with this tree, I think she was marking or leaving her scent on that branch. When she had finished she went to sit under the tree, Brutus was not far from her.

Watch a video of them





Here is Sami. He was relaxing close to the water trough. Alam was hidden high up amongst the trees. I think he was busy with something up there, maybe a bone. I just managed to spot his ears and the top of his head.

Sami and Alam mostly spend time together, but sometimes split off when they are on their own missions!





Here are Maggie and Sonja having an afternoon snooze together. All the cats are doing well. We see them often.





Nelson has been rather vocal recently. He is full of energy, but taking it easy here. Some days the cats can be very vocal and we can hear their roars echoing over the Shamwari hills. That always puts a smile on our faces. They are all still wild at heart!



Sinbad and Achee


The lovely Sinbad & Achee are never far from one another. Here they are both taking it easy.


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