BORN FREE’S BIG CAT SANCTUARY AT SHAMWARI PRIVATE GAME RESERVE
Born Free, in partnership with Shamwari Private Game Reserve, operates two big cat sanctuaries in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, for lions and leopards rescued from zoos, circuses, private ownership and other captive facilities.
Our first sanctuary opened in 1996 in the south of the reserve and enabled us to rehome two lions and a leopard rescued from the roof of a restaurant in Tenerife. The following year, thanks to the generosity of the family and friends of young naturalist, Julie Ward, tragically killed in Kenya, an education facility was built in her memory at our sanctuary. This means local children can learn about their own wildlife and the suffering wildlife can endure in captivity.
The second sanctuary, The Jean Byrd Centre, was completed in 2006, thanks to South African supporter Jean Byrd, and other generous sponsors.
The bush enclosures at our big cat sanctuary give the lions and leopards the space and privacy they so desperately need. Visitors are permitted but visiting times are extremely limited and there is only one viewing platform at each enclosure.
MEET OUR BIG CATS
Our big cat sanctuaries are currently home to 17 rescued lions and leopards.
Our sanctuaries provide a new home and a new start for the big cats rescued from a lifetime of suffering.
For many, it may be the first time they have felt grass under their paws or had the freedom to run around! Whatever their circumstances, they soon adapt to their new life and start to enjoy the sights and sounds of Africa.
Adopt the King the Lion
King was rescued from an apartment in Paris where he was being kept illegally as an ‘exotic pet’ in a small, dirty cage. He now lives at Shamwari Big Cat Sanctuary.
Your adoption will help fund his lifetime care.
VOLUNTEER AT SHAMWARI
The Shamwari Conservation Experience may include the opportunity for volunteers to visit and get involved at Born Free’s big cat sanctuaries during their stay.
Volunteers help out with a variety of tasks, including gardening, construction and maintenance.