Pollyanna visits rescued lions at Shamwari

At the beginning of September Pollyanna returned from a trip to South Africa, where she was delighted to have the opportunity to visit the Born Free Foundation's santuary at Shamwari.

Born Free has two sanctuaries in South Africa for lions and leopards rescued from zoos, circuses and other captive facilities. They are set within the award-winning Shamwari Wildlife Reserve in the Eastern Cape. The first sanctuary opened in 1996 in the south of reserve and enabled the Foundation to rehome two lions and a leopard from their tiny cages on top of a Tenerife restaurant, where they could only take one and a half paces in each direction.

The following year, thanks to the generosity of the family and friends of young naturalist, Julie Ward, tragically killed in Kenya, an education centre was built in her memory. This allows local children to learn about their own wildlife and about the suffering wildlife can endure in captivity. There are currently three leopards and four lions living in the massive one-two hectare natural habitat enclosures at the first sanctuary.

The second sanctuary is in the north of Shamwari and currently home to one leopard and three lions in the two hectare camps. This sanctuary and education centre was completed in 2006, thanks to donations from generous sponsors including the The Pollyanna Pickering Foundation, which was able to contribute £8000.00 towards the new enclosures.

The bush enclosures at Shamwari give the lions and leopards the space and privacy they so desperately need. Pollyanna was delighted to meet the wonderful people working with the big cats in their new African home, and to see the encloseures her Foundation helped to build!

She is hoping very much to paint some of the rescued cats for future exhibitions.

Shamwari Photos

Pollyanna with Clare, Born Free's Shamwari centre manager.

Pollyanna with the enclosure which the donation from her Foundation helped to build.

'Sinbad' - one of the rescued lions in his new home at Shamwari