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How is YOUR adopted animal getting on?


CarINg For orPHaNs LIKE sara




• 11% morE gIraFFEs • THE bIggEsT bEar • mEET mooNsHINE • LEgENDary LEoParD


Issue 10

WELCOME Adopt! is a magazine very close to my heart. It tells the latest stories of the amazing animals you help Born Free care for. I know how eager you are for news and how much you’ll enjoy hearing about your beloved adopted animal!

Will Travers OBe President, Born Free Foundation

OUR NEW BABIES Just 18 months old when rescued in Sri Lanka, little orphan Madhavi was thin and sickly. But now she drinks 40 pints of milk a day! Find out more on p18 and visit or call 01403 240170 to adopt her.

Our brand new dolphin ‘Moonshine’ lives in Scotland’s Moray Firth (p34). Thanks to competition winner James Blackburn from Edinburgh for the name!

© g Roberts

Thank you for all your help, support and encouragement.

COVER STORY Happy Birthday Ngamba! The island sanctuary we helped create in Uganda is 20 years old. Here rescued orphans like Sara can overcome their heartbreak, live in a community and learn to behave like wild chimps (p26).


My mother Virginia and I would like to take this opportunity to send you our special thanks and to let you know how important you are to our charity. Together, I believe we are making the world a better place for wildlife, one animal at a time.


p4 p6 p8 p10 p12 p14 p16 p18 p20 p22 p24 p26 p28 p30 p32 p34 p36 p38 p40 p42 p44 p46


Roque the tiger Jasper the tiger Dolo the lion Sinbad & Achee the lions Leopard family* Cheetah family The elephant Family Jubilee & Madhavi the elephants* giraffe family* Mugaruka & Chimanuka the gorillas Chinoise & eve the chimps Sara & Afrika the chimps* Teddy the monkey Pangi the pangolin Springer the orca & her calves Muddy the dolphin & her calves* Turtle family Hyena family The Web Valley wolves* The polar bear family ginny the moon bear Kyriakos the brown bear*

go wild with born Free!

The born Free Foundation is an international wildlife charity and we’re wild about animals! We take action worldwide to save lions, elephants, apes, tigers, giraffes and lots more. We believe wild animals belong in the wild.

so get into wildlife and go wild with born Free! Adopt! is published in March and September each year. editor: Celia nicholls, Design: Claire Stanford, Born Free Foundation, Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road, Horsham RH12 4QP. 01403 240170 Charity no: 1070906 Printed on recycled paper

Connect with us

Join our family on social media Facebook – bornfreefoundation Twitter – @bornfreefdn Instagram – @bornfreefoundation none of our rescued animals in permanent care are allowed to breed; we vasectomise males or spay/give hormone implants to females. We do not want to add to the captive population, plus sanctuary space is in short supply, so we keep these precious spaces for animals most needing rescue.

Tiger champ

Long-living leopard

Winter Sale

Kathleen Barnett has been a tiger adopter for an incredible 20 years and met Roque (p4) as a little cub. Superstar Kathleen has raised £4,500 giving talks in Yorkshire, aided by a lifesize ‘rescued tiger’!

Leda is phenomenal. Our rescued mother cat is a mega 27 years old - an astonishing lifespan for a leopard - but still knocks spots off the competition, even catching unwary birds who venture into her enclosure (p12).

Fantastic savings on unique Born Free merchandise and wonderful wildlife gifts. Wide range of discounted items including t-shirts, cuddly toys, books and more. Just visit to save up to 50%.

© g Fava/BFF


04 roQuE | SPRIng 2018

Roque’s story Roque (‘Rocky’) was a tiny cub when taken from his mother and put on sale in a Spanish pet-shop in 1998. Before Born Free We rescued the terrified youngster and today he’s a magnificent adult tiger living in a spacious forest enclosure at our sanctuary in India.

Latest news on roque the tiger With the help of funding from your adoption, there is a lot of activity going on at the Born Free tiger rescue facility, located in Bannerghatta Biological Park in south India. Three of the tigers we have in the sanctuary were taken into captivity by Indian government authorities, following various cases of conflict with humans. While these tigers can sadly never be returned to the wild, at Born Free we’re doing our utmost to give them the best possible lifetime care we can. To that end, we’ve been modifying and reinforcing their large forest enclosures, so that these fierce, strong tigers can have full access to these areas. Progress can be slow, but we’re hoping these modifications will be complete by easter. Roque, your beautiful Sumatran tiger, will be 20 years old in May and with that come a few aches and pains associated with old age. He is now somewhat arthritic and has a limp, but with medication he continues to be active. He spends most of his time making sure everyone knows where his territory is, by regular patrols of his forest ‘kraal’ (enclosure). Two of the ‘conflict tigers’, Madesha and Jawaraiah, are also getting old now – and are 15 and 17 respectively. They endured a difficult time towards the end of their time in the wild, being injured and driven from their territories by younger males. So they are now both suffering from the effects of old wounds, not least the front leg amputation we had to carry out on Madesha. But he has recovered well from this surgery and with your help we

BANNERGHATTA TIGER SANCTUARY INDIA do everything we can to make life as comfortable as possible. gopal is a much younger animal, aged around seven years, and in good health. He spends a great deal of time during the hottest part of the day having a good soak in his pool, watching all the local activity in the surrounding forest.

By Tony Wiles Born Free’s Animal Rescue Consultant

TIGER CRISIS Tigers are amazing predators, but sadly they face many threats. Tragically as few as 4,000 survive in the wild and poachers kill them for their beautiful fur and to use their body parts for traditional Asian medicine. The largest tiger population is in India, but even here as few as 2,225 survive. Their forest homes are cut down for wood, dug up for mines and damns, and used for farming and human development. Born Free is working with local people and conservation organisations to protect wild tigers in India.

SPRIng 2018 | roQuE 05


By Laura gosset Head of education

Latest news on Jasper the tiger

bones. And rest assured; he is receiving amazing care at his home in Cambodia, with regular vet visits to monitor his health.

At a mature 18 years old now, your tiger Jasper is a good age for a big cat. The expert team at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre are looking after him well, but his age is starting to show a little. While his dignified spirit is unchanged, as is his dislike of cameras (!), he has lost a little weight recently. Jasper currently weighs 120kg, down from around 180kg two years ago. But he still has a good appetite for his meat and

The northeast monsoon has now arrived in Cambodia and brings with it sunny, dry weather between December and April. There are two distinct seasons in Cambodia and by May the weather should shift and the rains will arrive. Meanwhile, from January, the temperatures steadily increase from around 20°C to a scorching peak of 35°C in May. During the hot sunny afternoons Jasper likes to bathe and keep cool in his pond.

06 JasPEr | SPRIng 2018


Jasper was just a tiny newborn Indochinese tiger cub when poachers stole him from his forest home in Cambodia in 1998, no doubt killing his mother. Destined for life in a tiger farm or zoo, fortunately he was confiscated – sickly, terrified and malnourished. With expert medical attention he made a full recovery and now lives in a large forested enclosure at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre.

Interestingly, the Cambodian government recently announced that their Ministry of environment is investigating the potential of reintroducing wild tigers back into protected forests in the far east of the country. Until 20 years ago Cambodia was home to one of the world’s largest tiger populations, but tragically they underwent a rapid decline due to terrible poaching of both tigers and the animals they hunt for food. Today these rare Indochinese tigers have practically gone extinct, so the government’s commitment to this reintroduction project is very exciting news for tiger conservation. We’ll keep you updated!

CONSERVATION IN CAMBODIA Just 50 years ago there were 40,000 tigers across Asia, today over 90% have been wiped out and just 4,000 remain. There are as few as 420 of the Indochinese subspecies found in the mountainous terrains and remote forested hills of southern China, Burma (Myanmar), Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Human exploitation and loss of prey species are major problems, but wild tigers are now strictly protected in Cambodia with millions of acres of forests now kept safe. SPRIng 2018 | JasPEr 07

© Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre

Jasper’s story

© Bereket girma


Latest news on Dolo the lion Dolo and the other lions are currently enjoying lots of sunbathing as we’ve entered the hot sunny dry season at ensessa Kotteh. So if they aren’t busy eating or playing together, they’ll be stretched asleep under the full ethiopian sun. Dolo has been calling out to nogobi, the mighty male rescued in 2016 who lives nearby. nogobi roars back – loud and deep. The lions use these calls to keep in touch, telling each other where they are and sizing each other up – warning they are more powerful! 08 DoLo | SPRIng 2018

Meanwhile Dolo’s companion Safia has been very friendly, through the mesh, with Kebri who lives next door. Kebri was rescued as a cub in 2012 from an army barracks after his mother had been killed. Safia tries to get his attention, then they chase each other up and down, while Dolo sleeps in the sun completely un-phased by their interaction. One of our ‘Italian’ lion brothers Andrea caught a bird, that had ill-chosen a place to perch. This happened right in front of our Wildlife Care Officer, Paul Reynolds, and Andrea then charged at Paul to warn him off his freshly killed bird. every time brother Janu tried to come over to investigate there was

Dolo relaxes in the sun, you can just see safia behind him to the left

Dolo’s story

Before Born Free

For four long years Dolo was kept on a 1m chain in a wooden shack in southern ethiopia, near the Somali border. emaciated and lonely, his mane was rubbed off by the chain and his desolate roar echoed around the town. But we rescued him with eWCA* in 2007 and now Dolo shares a bush enclosure with Safia, a young rescued lioness. They both have recovered from their ordeals and receive expert care and great diets at our centre. *ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority

lots of snarling and paw swiping until he decided it wasn’t worth the fight. Our young brothers Rea and girma, rescued with nogobi, are continuing to grow larger so we look forward to moving them to their new enclosure once it is complete. Both like to wait until a caregiver’s back is turned before racing up to the fence to surprise them. Working with those two is not for the faint hearted!

By Laura Gosset Head of education


safia is fascinated by her handsome neighbour

CARING FOR CATS IN ETHIOPIA ensessa Kotteh is the first such facility in ethiopia and is much-needed. Sadly there are many wild animals kept in terrible captive conditions and there is a thriving illegal trade in wild animals as exotic pets. Our rescue centre is based on an idyllic 77-hectare site, just 23km from the capital city Addis Ababa. Here Born Free cares for ten rescued lions and many other rescued, orphaned and injured animals including cheetahs, servals, caracals, hyenas, monkeys and birds. They live in spacious enclosures filled with beautiful indigenous trees and bushes, with dense undergrowth to explore and cool soil to roll in. SPRIng 2018 | DoLo 09


By Tricia Holford Born Free’s Rescue & Care Officer

Their story Beautiful Sinbad, born in 2001, is half the size of a normal lion due to his poor early diet. Rescued from a squalid zoo in Romania in 2007, Before Born Free he shares his large enclosure with Achee the lioness. Rescued from a snowy Romanian car-park in 2004, she too is undersized due to an unsuitable early diet. For 11 years she lived with Ma Juah the lioness and was heartbroken when she died. But in June 2015 she was introduced to Sinbad and now they are great friends. 10 sINbaD & aCHEE | SPRIng 2018

your affectionate lions relaxing in the shade

Latest ne & achee the lions As many of you know, it took a long time for Sinbad to warm to Achee’s determined advances, but they now have a close and affectionate relationship. Well, normally… one day recently our Animal Care Manager, glen Vena, was watching Achee watching nelson, her handsome lion neighbour rescued from a French zoo, in the next-door enclosure. Both Achee and Sinbad show interest in nelson who can sometimes be seen across the wide grassy, shrubby area that separates the two vast ‘camps’, so this is not unusual behaviour. Poor Sinbad happened to walk across Achee’s line of

© G Vena/BF Shamwari

vision and she took a swipe at him, hooking her claw under his eye. Fortunately they remain friends and Sinbad’s black eye was back to its normal appearance in two days. Achee can be bossy sometimes but usually they are very sweet together, lying close together and grooming each other. Achee’s determined nature means glen has had to change the feeding routine. “I now keep them apart after they have finished eating their meat. I used to let them get back together but Achee would be all over Sinbad, delighted to see him again, which made him a bit restless. So now they are kept in their separate ‘hospital camps’ overnight and let back together first thing in the morning. Sinbad seems much happier with this arrangement. We keep on learning what works with our cats. As they get older, we sometimes notice their behaviour changing too. We on the Animal Care Team must stay on top of things at all times!”

SHAMWARI RESERVE SOUTH AFRICA CARING FOR CATS IN SOUTH AFRICA Shamwari is the biggest wildlife reserve in the eastern Cape and home to a huge range of wild animals as well as two Born Free Big Cat Rescue and education Centres. Here 13 rescued lions and four leopards receive loving care for life in expansive bush enclosures three to four acres in size, while visitors, students and local school children - particularly those from less privileged backgrounds - learn about Born Free and our work to care for individuals and protect wild populations.

© D Davies

Rest in peace Shada On 31st January, very sadly, one of our rescued big cats died after a short illness an elderly lioness called Shada. Rescued from a squalid French circus, it is a great comfort she had 11 happy years at Shamwari. now, her adoptive mums and dads have generously transferred their support to Sinbad and Achee, to help secure their lifetime care. We would like to welcome them and hope they enjoy reading about Sinbad and Achee and the remarkable relationship of these two special lions.

goodbye shada – we’ll miss you

SPRIng 2018 | sINbaD & aCHEE 11

THE LEOPARD FAMILY Latest news on The Leopard Family Brothers Sami and Alam have a close bond and although they will be 18 years old this year, they still rough and tumble like ovegrown cubs. If Sami is lying on his back sleeping, Alam will come and lay on his belly and then they’ll have mock-fights, and snarl in a playful way. Sami is the ‘top cat’ in the relationship and it is brave of Alam to sit on his brother like that. Sometimes though his confidence fails him and he will jump off quickly in alarm! On other occasions they will be seen grooming each other, which strengthens the bond between them. It is beautiful to watch.

Top cat sami (in front) and his brother alam

12 LEoParD FamILy | SPRIng 2018

Our other two leopards at Shamwari, Leda and her daughter Rhea, live in separate but adjoining camps. They were not neutered, as Sami and Alam were, so naturally have a more territorial relationship with each other and prefer to live apart. 19-year old Rhea is very active and patrols her main enclosure to see if any small mammals, birds or reptiles have managed to get in. Clearly her teeth are still very strong, as she happily finishes all her meat. Leda’s teeth are in good condition too. We were told she was born in Tel Aviv zoo, Israel, in 1990, which makes her an


astonishing 27 years old. She is still active as well. When our team do their daily checks of her fence, Leda likes to follow them round, and she can still catch an unwary bird. During her eight years at Shamwari, Leda has never had to be darted to check her for any ill-health. She’s one amazing leopard!

By Tricia Holford Born Free’s Rescue & Care Officer

LEOPARDS UNDER THREAT Intelligent and agile, leopards are skilled hunters who rely on stealth, camouflage and lightning-speed reactions. Leopards have the widest range of any species of cat in Africa and Asia. But many wild populations are under threat due to human pressures and habitat loss, while captive animals are exploited in zoos and circuses. Africa’s leopard subspecies is not considered in immediate danger of extinction but Asia’s leopard subspecies are all classed ‘endangered’.

our amazing, long-living Leda

Our stunning ‘family’ of leopards live in spacious bush enclosures, full of Before Born Free shady shrubs and bushes, plus dense undergrowth. They include the brothers Sami and Alam, rescued with their sister nimira when found alone as cubs in Sudan in 2001. nimira sadly died in 2017, but her brothers remain - loving and playful. Then there are mother and daughter Leda and Rhea who came from a terrible cage in Limassol zoo, Cyprus in 2009. SPRIng 2018 | LEoParD FamILy 13

© G Vena/BF Shamwari

Their story


Before Born Free

Most members of our extended family were victims of the exotic pet trade and stolen from the wild as cubs. Many were rescued in Somaliland by our friends at Agro Action and were being illegally sold. Happily at our centre they have recovered and, split into males and females, live in spacious, tree-filled enclosures with undergrowth to explore and plenty of room to run.

Latest news on The Cheetah Family Your Cheetah Family has recovered well after the sad loss of Kakaway back in October. She had settled in since her rescue in 2016, but tragically suffered from liver failure due to her poor diet and lack of exercise before we gave her a home. We are devastated to lose her, but knowing she had nearly 18 months of happiness at our centre is a comfort. Meanwhile the sisters Lakota and Miremba, rescued in 2012, have become even closer friends and often lie next to the males’ enclosure, where they interact with some of the boys. Their brothers Namazzi and Dembe will often be the ones keen to 14 CHEETaH FamILy | SPRIng 2018


engage, chasing their sisters up and down on either side of the dividing fence, and jumping against the mesh in a playful manner. Gentle Hailu, rescued with his sister Kakaway, is doing well in his own enclosure, every now and again interacting with the nearby females. The other males are wary of him - he’s the largest of our rescued cheetahs - and attempt to intimidate him through the fence. But he holds his own until the other males run away. All the cheetah will soon be heading to new large and spacious enclosures being built onsite, as they have outgrown their current set up. We look forward to moving them later this year, so they’ll have even more space to run, play and nap in the sun. Young sisters Nura and Tamu, who were rescued close to the Somali border in the east of the country in 2015, like to chase our Land Rover every time the team drive past. They often chase them for the whole duration of the drive around. This is great exercise for them - they probably suspect we have food in the back of the trailer!

By Laura gosset Head of Education


Dembel is our dominant male

but gentle Hailu is our largest cheetah

Once found on five continents, the species is now under threat due to conflict with humans, loss of habitat and prey, as well as loss of ‘genetic diversity’. Another major problem is the exotic pet trade, but cheetahs, like all wild animals, are very difficult to care for and never make good pets. Just over 7,000 African cheetahs are thought to remain in the wild in around 25 African countries. Less than 100 Asiatic cheetahs remain scattered in Iran. SPRIng 2018 | CHEETaH FamILy 15

© Bereket girma


THE ELEPHANT FAMILY Latest news on the Elephant Family I first met echo and her eB elephant family nearly 45 years ago in August 1973. At first, to track the elephants, we radio-collared three adult females, and called one echo, because of the sounds her radio-collar was making. We named her family the eBs because we often saw them with another family who we’d given the code eA. echo was a remarkable matriarch and I studied her for nearly four decades as she guided and protected the eB family. They were devastated when she died in 2009, but gradually recovered, organising themselves around older females. Today the family has grown so large it often splits into sections. The sub-group led by echo’s grand-daughter edwina stays in central Amboseli, close to our camp. This makes them easy to observe and we see her almost daily. Despite breaking her leg several years ago, edwina is a very successful female and leads a beautiful family of 11. One reason she has done well is because she kept having daughters - europa born in 1995 when she was 13 years old, then elaine in 1999, elana in 2004 and elif in 2008. edwina finally had her first son in 2012, then another daughter in 2015. Three of her daughters have grown up and had their own calves, including elaine who recently gave birth. Her four-year old daughter elsinore is devoted to the new baby. We had been suffering from a terrible drought, which was really hard on the elephants and made it difficult for new mothers to produce enough milk. However, Amboseli recently had some rain, so conditions are improving and vegetation growing.

By Cynthia moss Founder of the Amboseli Trust for elephants 16 ELEPHaNT FamILy | SPRIng 2018

Their story The world-famous eB elephant Family were stars of the BBC’s ‘echo of the elephants’ TV series.They flourished under the wise matriarch echo’s leadership until her death in 2009. Today the loving family has dozens of members including echo’s sisters, daughters, grand-daughters and calves. One eB subgroup is led by edwina, echo’s grand-daughter, born in 1982.


elephants are the largest of all land animals and are gentle, intelligent, loving and loyal - living in close-knit families. Two species exist in Africa and one in Asia. Sadly elephants are exploited by people both in the wild and in captivity. Born Free fights captive exploitation and the appalling trade in ivory - poachers kill elephants for their tusks to supply ruthless dealers, and numbers are plummeting throughout Africa. SPRIng 2018 | ELEPHaNT FamILy 17

© ATe



By manori gunawardena Country Representative, Born Free Sri Lanka

Their stories Jubilee was just a baby when she lost her mother in 2012. Luckily she was rescued by the elephant Transit Home (eTH), which cares for orphan elephants and returns them to the wild when they are ready. Jubilee was named in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Madhavi was just 18 months old when found alone in July 2016 (see pic). She now drinks 40 pints of milk a day at the eTH! 18 JubILEE | SpRiNG 2018


Little madhavi is settling in well

Latest news on Jubilee & madhavi the elephants After a two-month delay the rains finally arrived at the elephant Transit Home (eTH) in Udawalawe, with a cyclonic storm ending a prolonged dry spell. For the first time in two years the reservoir bordering the rescue facility – where the orphans drink, bathe and play – is filled to the brim. For the eTH elephants it is a time of plenty - the grasslands, mud wallows and water spill over much of their surroundings.

Jubilee and some of her companions are now the seniors of the herd of orphans, and, as in wild herds, are its strength. new and young members of the herd are guided by these older female elephant calves throughout their daily routines. The resulting social bonds and relationships formed over the years will enable Jubilee and other older orphans to adjust to the challenges of their imminent release back to wild. Once Jubilee leaves, the remaining herd will go through some adjustment with the next ranks assuming the leadership role. The next elephant calf we will shadow and care for, with the help of your adoption, is a young female, Madhavi. She was found wondering on her own outside a village in central eastern Sri Lanka when she was just 18 months old. Madhavi was skinny, bruised, riddled with parasites and weak. Since arriving at the eTH she’s gradually recovered, gaining a full 160kg in weight, but remains a shy and quiet animal.

ELEPHANT TRANSIT HOME SRI LANKA ELEPHANT CONFLICT elephants need large amounts of space, food and water to survive. There are fewer than 50,000 Asian elephants, less than a tenth of the African population. These elephants are under serious threat, mostly from impacts on their habitat from an expanding human population. Sri Lanka is a relatively small country with a high human population density and over 4,000 elephants. This can lead to conflict, and injury and death on both sides, as elephants can wander close to human settlements and raid crops. Born Free works to find solutions so that people and elephants can live together harmoniously.

Jubilee (right) allows a younger orphan to taste the food in her mouth, as older females would in a wild herd

SPRIng 2018 | JubILEE 19



your rare giraffes have increased by 11% in the past year – fantastic!

The giraffes’ story niger is home to a precious population of West African giraffes. Facing some tough challenges, this is the rarest subspecies of giraffes in the world. Just a few hundred individuals live in an 840km2 area close to capital city niamey. The giraffes are well adapted to a dry climate and sparse vegetation, but habitat loss and conflict with people can be a problem.

By Dr Liz greengrass Associate Director Conservation Africa 20 gIraFFE FamILy | SPRIng 2018

The giraffes’ giant size helps them reach leaves on top of trees, too high for smaller animals. giraffes might seem fragile, with spindly legs, but they are extremely strong and fast. A well-placed kick could shatter the skull of a predatory lion, while a running giraffe can reach speeds of more than 35 miles (56km) per hour. giraffes are under pressure, both in captivity where they are exploited in zoos and circuses, and in the wild. Wild giraffes have been extensively hunted for their meat, but today their main threat is loss of suitable habitat.

© gCF


Latest news on The Giraffe Family I was thrilled to receive a wonderful report from our colleague Julian Fennessy at the Giraffe Conservation Foundation: “Up and up and up! With your help West African giraffe numbers continue to grow, with numbers now estimated at more than 600 – what an increase from just 49 individuals in 1995! Many new giraffe calves were observed in our annual survey last September. With around 11% annual increase, this is one of the fastest growing wild giraffe populations in Africa. The giraffes also seem to be gradually increasing their range outside the ‘Giraffe Zone’ – where they have mostly lived for the last 25-30 years. “Support for giraffe conservation continues to gain traction with a valuable partnership growing between the Government of Niger, Sahara Conservation Fund and Giraffe Conservation Foundation. In November, we undertook a trip to assess the potential for the first-ever translocation of giraffe to Gadebedji Reserve in Niger – an area they used to live but became extinct from poaching. Today, Gadabedji Reserve is rebounding with targeted conservation attention and a prime time for re-introduction of giraffe – exciting times. “With the dedicated support of our new Programme Officer, we have assessed the needs of our local partners to truly help giraffe conservation longer term. In the past month we’ve also initiated critical field training and provided equipment to support ongoing giraffe monitoring and management in the ‘Giraffe Zone’. Having local staff is invaluable


Julian with new giraffe road signs to not only provide technical assistance but importantly help increase local awareness. “The new ‘GiraffeSpotter’ online software is now ready to go live and be used for all future giraffe counts.‘Citizen scientists’ (general public), conservation managers and researchers can enter photos from their safari or field surveys and help provide data and, importantly, help the Government manage these unique giraffes. We hope ‘GiraffeSpotter’ will soon be adapted to be used all over Africa. “Stay tuned for more exciting field updates! Thanks to all supporters and Born Free Foundation for helping save the last West African giraffe.”


MUGARUKA & CHIMANUKA Baby Mwira was fascinated to see us

Their stories

By Dr Liz Greengrass Associate Director Conservation Africa

Mugaruka and Chimanuka are a magnificent pair of rare Eastern Lowland gorillas, living in the mountain rainforests of a vast 6,000km2 park, in the eastern DRC. Both are massive, powerful adult males, known as ‘silverbacks’. Mugaruka lost a hand in a poacher’s snare and - unable to defend a family mostly lives alone. Chimanuka lives together with his large family, a ‘harem’ of females and their offspring. Since 2000 Born Free has supported a team of brave rangers who risk their lives to keep these gorillas safe from poachers.


© R Griffiths/The Mirror and I Redmond (inset)

Chimanuka was clearly relaxed despite our presence

Latest news on Mugaruka & Chimanuka the gorillas Our ape expert colleague, Ian Redmond, visited your gorillas last year. Ian has a passion for gorillas and it was a privilege to talk to him about his trip. He first studied mountain gorillas over 40 years ago with gorilla champion Dian Fossey, introduced Sir David Attenborough to gorillas in the world-famous BBC encounter, and even taught actress Sigourney Weaver to grunt like a gorilla for her award-winning role in the film ‘Gorillas in the Mist’! “Baby Mwira came towards me, fascinated by her visitors and our cameras clicking amidst the sounds of the jungle – birds chirping, insects buzzing. With her father, the mighty silverback Chimanuka, sitting nearby she clearly felt safe. Meanwhile her mother Mwinja wasn’t interested in us at all, and reclined in the background, snacking on leaves. Watch my film of Mwira at “I was at Kahuzi-Biega with a writer and photographer from the Daily Mirror, reporting on the plight of these amazing apes – the largest primate on the planet. Eastern lowland gorillas were recently classed as ‘Critically Endangered’. This kind of gorilla has declined by three-quarters in the past 20 years and it is vital we do everything we can to keep them safe. Your adoption is so important and much appreciated! “Chimanuka began climbing to reach food – it was astonishing to watch this massive male scaling trees, as usually it’s the youngsters who love to clamber in this way.

KAHUZI BIEGA NATIONAL PARK DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO As we quietly watched, baby Mwira began to accept us, and sat a few metres away gazing at us, while her mother slumbered. It was clear from the gorillas’ relaxed demeanour that they trusted us completely. “Close by two of Chimanuka’s older children pounced and rolled and played together – visit for footage of these adolescent gorillas having fun. Mwira’s circle of exploration is gradually expanding away from her mum and soon she’ll be joining in with her siblings’ games. “I was sorry not to see my old friend Mugaruka during this trip. But the gorilla rangers tell me ‘the disabled one’ as they call him, is doing fine, with no quarrels with other silverbacks.”

MEET THE GORILLA One of our closest relatives, the gorilla is the biggest of the great apes. They might be powerful, but gorillas are intelligent, peaceful vegetarians, who live in close-knit family groups. Sadly they are under terrible threat - their forest homes are destroyed by logging companies, which opens up habitats to poachers. Gorillas are killed for meat or tourist ‘curios’, their terrified infants sold as pets. Today as few as 5,000 eastern lowland gorillas survive. SPRING 2018 | MUGARUKA & CHIMANUKA 23


Eve is learning to trust the younger chimps

Latest news on Chinoise & Eve the chimps

suffered from any coughs or any other sickness this year, even during the rainy season that usually brings colds.

Your young chimpanzee Chinoise is still with her friends Ghaa and Jackie – both older chimps. The last months have been very good for the three of them and Chinoise has been her playful and happy self. She loves to play with the poles in the enclosure and really entertains herself with the water from the tap. But she also enjoys spending quiet time with Ghaa, just lying and watching visitors to the rescue centre. She can still be naughty sometimes but slowly is maturing.

Jackie, rescued after 17 years captive away from other chimps, is her playmate and together they have a lot of fun. They love to chase each other and play with the hammock. Chinoise still contributes a lot to Jackie's rehabilitation and during the last months, Jackie's behaviours have improved. They are becoming more natural and she is progressively paying less attention to humans. The bond with Jackie and Ghaa is really good as well. Because of Ghaa, Jackie is also able to relax a little more. We are all very happy to witness chimps rehabilitating chimps and teaching each other appropriate social behaviours!

Chinoise is also very healthy and strong - she definitely enjoys her food and enrichments and, as a result, has grown well. She has not 24 CHINOISE & EVE | SPRING 2018

Hopefully next year Chinoise will join the big group of older chimps on the island. It is going to be a long process, but the care team and of course Ghaa will make sure she is prepared for the big step. For now, with the help of your adoption, she continues to stay with Ghaa and Jackie and together they will enjoy a happy new year together! Eve is now in the reintroduction group with young chimps Lolo, Madame and Mayos. And things are slowly improving. It is a long process for every animal and the introduction to such a big group does take a lot of time. Eve used to be a bit rough, but for the last weeks has calmed down, although she still has a strong personality! By Laura Gosset Head of Education

Their stories When Chinoise was just a few weeks old her mother was killed by poachers and she was sold as a pet to a Chinese restaurant in Douala, Cameroon in 2013. Luckily the baby chimp was rescued by Limbe Wildlife Centre, supported by Born Free since 2004, who also care for Eve. One of the older animals, Eve is part of a community of rescued chimps, and was rescued in 2005.

MEET THE CHIMPANZEE Chimpanzees are our closest relatives and share up to 98% of DNA with humans. They are extremely intelligent, feel complex emotions and live together in close-knit family communities, with a defined hierarchy. Like all great apes, chimps are perceptive, inventive and able to assess and learn from situations. They solve complex problems, pass information from one generation to the next, and make and use tools.


Chinoise gently investigates a small harmless snake she found





Your Sara in a thoughtful mood

Sara’s story Sara was just a baby when her mother was killed by poachers. A wildlife trader in South Sudan wanted to sell her as a pet but luckily she was rescued with three other baby chimps and brought to the wonderful sanctuary on Ngamba Island in 2011. Here amidst 100 acres of rainforest Sara has recovered and become part of a community of rescued chimps including the older female Afrika, rescued in 2007. 26 SARA & AFRIKA | SPRING 2018

By Laura Gosset Head of Education

Sara is in good health despite some minor skin irritations. Over the last few months it is interesting that her ‘rank’ in the community has gone down a little. Chimps have a hierarchical society and other youngsters in the group have become a little more popular with the older chimps. Your little chimp has a big personality and is known as Sara the Diva! She has a healthy appetite and is very strategic when it comes to feeding. She calculates her moves and tries to get fed close to a low-ranking individual so she can try and grab their portion. One morning she got very frustrated, trying to catch whatever food was being thrown to the baby chimp Eazy. Sara loves Eazy and usually enjoys playing with him, letting him ride on her back. But this feeding time she stayed about two metres from him, trying to pinch his food. However, two-year old Eazy was smart enough to keep running away, catching every piece of fruit before Sara caught up with him. So Sara then changed her plan and sat close to Medina – another young chimp rescued from South Sudan. She clearly hoped Medina would be too slow every time food was thrown. But this didn’t work either, as the caregivers were aware of Sara’s plan and made sure Medina got plenty. Sara had to make do with some sweet potato and an avocado. Less than she budgeted for – but don’t worry, she doesn’t go hungry! Older chimp Afrika rarely interacts with Eazy, despite being his biological mother. Perhaps

NGAMBA ISLAND CHIMPANZEE SANCTUARY UGANDA being an orphan herself she didn’t have the chance to learn mothering skills from her own mother. But Eazy gets plenty of attention from other chimps. Meanwhile Afrika has been seen wading in the shallow waters on the western side of the sanctuary. She seems to enjoy the water, although chimps cannot swim.

Afrika relaxes in the shade


Latest news on Sara & Afrika the chimps

CHIMPS UNDER THREAT Chimps suffer terrible exploitation at human hands. Poachers butcher entire families for the commercial ‘bushmeat’ market and sell the babies as exotic pets. Today as few as 175,000 remain in the wild. Meanwhile these highly sentient animals can suffer particularly badly in captivity, whether in zoos, circuses, when used in adverts, films or even research laboratories. SPRING 2018 | SARA & AFRIKA 27

TEDDY Latest news on Teddy the vervet monkey When she was first brought to the sanctuary, Teddy required almost constant human companionship to help fulfill her instinctual needs for the tactile comfort and socialisation she would have received in the wild. Even after she was successfully introduced to the older vervet group, she still depended on us for reassurance and support. When she felt threatened she would run to us, screaming as if her little life depended on reaching us in time, and would only calm down after being consoled. But when young Mikey, a tantalus monkey rescued in 2016, joined the group, her attention began to shift away from human socialisation in favour of the more natural companionship of her own kind. With old Charles providing protection and the constant playfulness of Mikey, she no longer needed to look to us to fulfill her intrinsic needs and each passing week saw her become more confident and self-assured in her place in the world. Teddy has now grown into her adult body and assumed a dominant position in the vervet group. While she still plays and rough-houses with Mikey, she is clearly behaving more frequently as a mature monkey should, and her previously playful disposition has been mostly replaced with a calm and watchful demeanor. Her instinctual need to help protect her group now shows strongly and she only rarely approaches us of her own accord. Though she will never be as free as her wild cousins, we are truly pleased that she will be able to live a relatively normal life in the company of her own kind. Thank you for the part you play in this!

Teddy’s story Teddy is a young vervet monkey bred in an American zoo. She was taken from her mother when only four months old to be sold as a pet, but fortunately was brought to the safety of the Primate Sanctuary. Here amidst 186-acres over 600 primates in need - baboons, macaques and vervets - are given expert loving care, and enjoy enriched lives in spacious enclosures in the most natural environment possible. 28 TEDDY | SPRING 2018


Teddy is growing mature and thoughtful

By Tim Ajax Director Primate Sanctuary Born Free USA

Born Free campaigns to end the exploitation of monkeys in zoos and circuses, and prevent the trade in wild-caught monkeys for ‘bushmeat’ or as exotic pets. In Africa Born Free helps rescue and care for monkeys sold as pets, then returns them to the wild in groups when they are ready. Vervet monkeys are used in laboratories for biomedical research and Born Free USA’s Primate Sanctuary rescues ex-lab monkeys, and those kept as pets or in zoos, and gives them a life worth living. SPRING 2018 | TEDDY 29





Latest news on Pangi the pangolin I have just received a fascinating report from Rod and Tamar Cassidy about your pangolin. “To our great joy, it has now been more than two years since Pangi became a free-ranging canopy dweller in the Sangha forest on our doorstep. She is most easily seen foraging for ants wherever their nests occur, high up in the trees, and seldom comes down to the ground. She sometimes disturbs squirrels while moving up a tree in search of an ant nest. Although Pangi may stop for a moment, she is unimpressed, and the curious squirrels soon move on to another tree. Very different to the time when she approached two mice in their nest, who jumped out and fled! 30 PANGI | SPRING 2018

“Both Pangi and Koki, the other little pangolin we rescued and released last year, continue to be diligently monitored by a team of eight dedicated Ba’aka (indigenous trackers), together with a few volunteers. The team gather information about their use of their habitat, feeding preferences, behaviour, interactions and more. We had good rains from August to November and to keep track of Pangi we had to wade through the water and use a dugout canoe! “In October, at the height of the rainy season, she was alongside the Sangha River very near a temporary fishing camp where several families were living. I was a little worried Pangi’s life could be at risk because, as a habituated pangolin, she tends to be unafraid of people. However all went well and by


By Gabriel Fava Associate Director

November she moved back to the area near the lodge. Previously, we reported on the interaction of Pangi with a male pangolin, but unfortunately this contact has not been observed lately! Sexual maturity in blackbellied pangolins is thought to occur by two years of age, so Pangi certainly should be in the right age bracket to have little ones. “Besides obtaining valuable information about black-bellied pangolins from these daily records, we observe a strong sense of responsibility by the Ba’aka towards Pangi. We hope that this increased sensitivity towards pangolins, and awareness of the value of their conservation, will trickle down among the local population.” Watch footage of Pangi at

Pangi is an incredible young pangolin kept safe by Sangha Lodge. She was found as a tiny, starving baby in 2014, but under the watchful eye of lodge owners Rod and Tamar Cassidy has recovered well. Here in the tropical rainforests, home to gorillas and forest elephants, the Cassidys help wildlife in need and support community development.

PANGOLINS UNDER THREAT The illegal wildlife trade is a terrible threat and pangolins are the world’s most illegally-trafficked mammal. There are eight species of pangolin, four in Africa and four in Asia, and 100,000 are killed every year for meat - considered to be a delicacy, and scales - used in traditional medicine. Deforestation (chopping down) of their tropical forest homes is another big problem. Born Free campaigns to stop the trade in pangolins and attends important global meetings to discuss the problems pangolins face and encourage better ways to protect them. SPRING 2018 | PANGI 31

SPRINGER & HER CALVES Latest news on Springer & her calves My work at Born Free mostly focuses on the plight of orca kept in tanks, and our work to end captive exploitation. So it is fantastic to be able to send you this report by Dr Paul Spong and Helena Symonds on wild orcas – living in their natural habitat of the ocean, where they belong! “2017 was quite a year for Springer. In the spring as you may know she surprised everyone by appearing with a new baby by her side! This is baby number two after her first calf Spirit was born in 2013. The event of this birth has surely cemented the fulfillment of Springer’s life since her reintroduction to her family and community in 2002. Despite losing her mother at such an early age this wonderfully self-possessed survivor has moved through infancy to fully fledged adulthood. She is still young, just eighteen now.


Orca can have a similar lifespan to humans so if all continues well she will have other babies in the future and her family will grow. “Springer is already regarded as a matriarch with her own ‘matriline’ - the basic orca ‘social unit’ of a mother and her offspring. She and her immediate family are now known as the A73s after the alphanumerical ‘ID’ she was assigned at birth. Her job will be to provide consistency to the lives of her babies and to pass on the ‘acoustic heritage’ and other traditions she was given by her own mother. These traditions, despite her very young age when orphaned, were already well ingrained within her when she was lost then found. Orca communicate with a complex language of calls and whistles, and each matriline has their own distinctive dialect . “Springer’s dramatic adventure is unique in orca annals, and her incredible story the greatest ever (that we know). It is so impressive that Springer has managed to keep herself

In 2002 Springer was just two years old when her mother died and she became lost near Seattle, USA. Miraculously the baby orca was identified by her unique calls and taken 250 miles, by boat, back to her wild family near Canada’s Vancouver Island. Here Orcalab monitor wild orca, supported by Born Free since 1994. In 2013 Springer gave birth to her own baby, called Spirit, then in 2017 a second calf was born – wonderful!

and her traditions alive despite the precarious situations she has faced. As she moves forward with her life, supported by your adoption, Springer will no doubt offer other legacies. Besides, she has kept us all enthralled and always asking, ‘What will happen next?’ We are ever so grateful to Born Free for enabling Springer’s return and with us, sharing her journey!”

HANSON ISLAND JOHNSON STRAIT CANADA EXTRAORDINARY ORCA The orca or ‘killer whale’ is actually the largest member of the dolphin family and can be found in every ocean. An adult male can grow to 9m long and weigh a colossal 10 tonnes. Orca are highly intelligent, sentient creatures with intricate social lives and defined culture, communicating with a complex language of calls. Only death or capture separates an orca from its family.

© David Howitt

Their story

By Samantha Goddard Campaigns Officer

© N Robinson

Your orca family – Springer at the front, her baby behind her, and Spirit at the back!


MUDDY & HER CALVES Their story Muddy lives in the Moray Firth, a North Sea inlet near Inverness. The firth has 500 miles of coastline and is home to over 500 dolphins, including the 3.5m long 350kg female Muddy. She was born in 1989 to the female Guinness, and has had seven calves, including Hiccup born in 2014, and a new baby born in October 2016.

Latest news on Muddy & her calves Dr Kevin Robinson has been in touch with an update on your adopted dolphin family. He is happy to report that Muddy’s new baby now has a proper name! “Muddy and her newest calf, officially called #643 but now known as Moonshine thanks to Born Free’s ‘I need a name!’ competition (p2), are both doing well. They were seen regularly last year by the CRRU research team along the southern coastline of the Moray Firth. Muddy’s previous calf, Hiccup, was also recorded on several occasions in 2017, but never with mum and new sibling. 34 MUDDY & HER CALVES | SPRING 2018

The youngster was typically seen hanging out amongst other animals, which is natural behaviour for a dolphin this age – now three years’ old. Hiccup has picked up a few extra nicks and marks in 2017, which have allowed the CRRU team to track this dolphin. But we still don’t know if this youngster is a boy or a girl – their gender remains unconfirmed at this time. We’ll keep you updated! “Muddy’s new calf Moonshine is very interested in our fantastic new research boat – purchased with the help of your adoption. The little one’s favourite game is to charge up to the bow and swim upside-down below the hull, looking up at the smiling faces of our team above. Each time we have encountered the pair this year, we have seen the same

By Dr Liz Greengrass Associate Director Conservation Africa


Your dolphin supermum (back) and baby Moonshine (in the middle)

behaviour, by way of a greeting. Rare interactions such as these make the CRRU’s job particularly rewarding!


“Calving for the population was late last year, with the first calves only being seen in August. By the end of the field season, however, a total of nine new calves were recorded for the population – wonderful news. Also last year we published a major new paper in a scientific journal, on the ‘reproductive success’ of Moray Firth’s bottlenose females, and the survival rates of their calves. This paper was based on 20 years’ of study by the CRRU and appeared in PLOS One, a journal published by the Public Library of Science in USA.”

The dolphins, harbour porpoises and minke whales in Moray Firth are monitored by the Cetacean Research and Rescue Unit (CRRU), a Scottish charity. They also operate a marine mammal rescue ambulance and boat to save stranded dolphins and seals. The Moray Firth is a haven for wildlife, but is disturbed by exploration for oil and gas, and increasing development such as new marinas which mean a lot more boats. So education to the significance of this area is another important part of CRRU’s work. SPRING 2018 | MUDDY & HER CALVES 35




A green turtle forages for seagrass

© Sea Sense

Your turtles’ story Mafia Island is a 48km long tropical island with white sandy beaches, perfect for turtle nests. Mafia and its neighbouring Juani Island, provide feeding habitat for five species of marine turtles, including your family of green turtles. Plus green and hawksbill turtles nest on Mafia’s beaches each year. Since 2001 Born Free has supported Sea Sense as they work with local people on Mafia and throughout Tanzania to study and protect these rare animals. 36 TURTLE FAMILY | SPRING 2018

By Dr Liz Greengrass Associate Director Conservation Africa

Latest news on The Turtle Family Another fascinating report from Director of Sea Sense Lindsey West. As you‘ll read there is mixed news, but with the help of your adoption their important work continues to protect rare turtles: “This time last year we shared the exciting news that 2016 was a record-breaking year for green turtle nesting in Juani Island. In 2016 Nasorro Shahame, the Sea Sense Conservation Officer, recorded an incredible 225 nests in Juani. The Sea Sense team was eager to see what happened in 2017 would it be another record breaking year? “Unfortunately, the opposite happened. We were disappointed that 2017 saw the lowest level of nesting activity in more than 10 years. Of course this was very disappointing for the Sea Sense team, but other long-term research by sea turtle biologists has shown that high levels of inter-annual variability in green turtle nesting numbers are common. “So which factors determine whether a green turtle is ready to return to her nesting beach to lay her eggs? Completing a nesting season requires a huge energy investment. A female turtle must eat enough seagrass and store sufficient energy while foraging to facilitate egg production, then painstakingly construct a nest on the sand, survive at sea between laying nests, and swim the long round-trip between foraging and nesting areas. It usually takes a female green turtle three years to build sufficient energy stores between nesting seasons. This can be extended to five years if seagrass availability is affected by climate-driven fluctuations in oceanographic conditions.

MAFIA ISLAND TANZANIA, INDIAN OCEAN “Is it just a coincidence that the lethal heat wave associated with the 2015/17 El Niño* hit the western Indian Ocean around February 2016? Could that have affected seagrass production and delayed many female turtles from returning to Juani in 2017? We won’t ever know the answer to that question but the hypothesis does highlight how vulnerable sea turtles and their habitats are to climate change. We’ll continue to do everything we can to ensure a future for Tanzania’s precious turtle population with your help.” *A climate phenomenon that can cause both droughts and floods around the world

PREHISTORIC REPTILES Green turtles are ancient, mysterious ocean-living reptiles unchanged for 200 million years. The only vegetarian marine turtle they are hunted for eggs and meat, and to make soup. Populations take years to recover, as turtles are slow to reproduce, not maturing till 30 years. Females lay hundreds of eggs in the sand, but only one in a thousand survives to adulthood. Slow and cumbersome on land, in the sea they are fast and streamlined swimmers. Due to overexploitation, disturbance of nesting beaches, and pollution of the sea they are today among the world’s most vulnerable animals. SPRING 2018 | TURTLE FAMILY 37


Agatami is growing fast 38 HYENA FAMILY | SPRING 2018

By Laura Gosset Head of Education

Latest news on The Hyena Family Agatami, our surprise new addition in late 2016, is growing larger by the day and it will not be long before he is a fully-grown male hyena. He was born to dominant female Tigeste, although her pregnancy was unplanned - we would never normally allow our rescued animals to breed, as sanctuary spaces are so precious. Once he has properly reached maturity, we will introduce Agatami to the other males of the hyena group who are kept separately. They have already happily met through the mesh, so we are hopeful an integration would be successful, but only time will tell. Matama, our very first rescued hyena, had a sore foot back in September which made him feel very unwell. We were all worried for a few days, however, hyena are incredible strong animals and he managed to make a full recovery. This was much to the relief of Screamer, who was very excited to see him again. Most of the time the hyena boys happily chase each other around or sleep in the sun - it’s currently the hot, dry season in Ethiopia, with temperatures up to 25°C. Tigeste - rescued from a terrible enclosure in a zoo - has made great improvements in her trusting of people. She had such a traumatic start to life, but no longer runs away every time we walk past and is getting more curious and braver as time goes on. Once the cheetah have moved to their new enclosures (p14) their old enclosures will be adapted and made suitable for hyenas. We’ll build them custom-made dens and they’ll have even more space for them to enjoy and explore.

ENSESSA KOTTEH RESCUE CENTRE ETHIOPIA Their story In March 2013 Born Free rescued a tiny bear-like cub, just six weeks old and weighing 3kg. ‘Matama’ was the very fIrst hyena our wildlife charity had ever rescued and needed three-hourly bottle-feeds of milk. Today he is full grown and at the heart of our family of rescued spotted hyenas. Each has a sad background, but with loving care their lives have transformed.

HYENAS IN THE WILD Unique meat-eaters and mainly nocturnal, hyenas are in a group of animals all by themselves. Spotted hyenas live in large close-knit families, with a clear hierarchy dominated by females. Also called ‘laughing hyenas’, they whoop, squeal, giggle and laugh! Known as scavengers they actually hunt 95% of food, including zebra and antelope. Sadly they are under threat as humans use their habitats to plant more crops, kill hyenas to protect livestock, and steal cubs to sell as ‘magic charms’ or pets. Numbers are declining but not yet endangered, they total up to 47,000. SPRING 2018 | HYENA FAMILY 39



Latest news on The Web Valley Wolves Eric Bedin, Field Coordinator of the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme (EWCP) has just sent me a fantastic report full of hope: “Each year, the dry season is an exciting period in the Bale Mountains and we witness how EWCP efforts and long-term Born Free support (since 1995!) has an impact on wolf conservation. From November to February wolf families are rearing their new generation and pups are roaming around the dens. This year, as last, we recorded an impressive number of breeding pairs.

© E Bedin/EWCP

“The packs in Web Valley live in a rodent-rich area an incredible 3,200 to 3,400m above sea level. In this valley, with your help, we monitor nine packs, then two others in nearby valleys. All packs but one have pups and we hope the last will also breed. More than 20 pups have been recorded, but we expect more as some are still fed inside the den by their mothers. “Tarura pack is one of our favourite families. They occupy a territory with superb scenery between the Web River at south, a swamp at east and the northern cliffs. Most pack members avoided disease outbreaks in past years, possibly due to vaccinations for rabies 40 WEB VALLEY WOLVES | SPRING 2018

and canine distemper. In September 2017, with your support, juveniles born last year were vaccinated against rabies. Nearly all Tarura individuals are now protected - a huge achievement. Amazingly all the juveniles were females. This is uncommon and we expect them to disperse over coming years and we hope claim new territories around Web Valley. “By also vaccinating two neighboring packs, Alandu and Hadele, we created a ‘buffer’ in Web Valley against rabies. Sadly, two months later, we detected rabies in the Meggity pack, but fortunately managed to contain the spread through an effective vaccination programme – vaccinating 28 wolves from five packs. We will be back with an update soon, and visit our own website at”

By Professor Claudio Sillero EWCP Founder & Director Born Free Head of Conservation

The wolves’ story The Web Valley wolves are a group of rare Ethiopian wolves who live high in the plateaus of the Ethiopian highlands. The group consists of several family packs, each led by an ‘alpha’ male and female. Their home is the Web Valley of the beautiful Bale Mountains, 3,000m above sea level, where temperatures range from freezing -15°C nights and scorching 25°C days.


WORLD’S RAREST DOG The slender, long-legged Ethiopian wolf with its distinctive red-tinged coat is a close relation of both grey wolves and coyotes. There are only about 500 Ethiopian wolves in the world, threatened by loss of habitat and the spread of lethal diseases carried by domestic dogs. Their last stronghold is high in Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains. Every single animal is important and they rely on Born Free and the EWCP* to protect them. *Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme


THE HUDSON BAY POLAR BEARS Latest news on The Hudson Bay Polar Bears It’s winter in Hudson Bay with temperatures crashing down as low as -45°C. From late November through till late March this is the perfect time and place to watch the northern lights or ‘aurora borealis’. This natural light display glows in the sky, with twirling ‘curtains’ or arcs of rainbow colours - red, green, blue, ultra-violet, pink and yellow. We’re looking forward to your female polar bears starting to emerge from their dens with their cubs in the next few weeks. Polar bears

Polar bears’ story With your help Born Free is helping to protect these amazing animals and their habitat in the southern Hudson Bay, on Canada’s Arctic coast. Hudson Bay in NE Canada is the second biggest bay in the world. In the autumn polar bears wait on the shoreline for the saltwater to freeze, then go onto the ice and catch seals. 42 HUDSON BAY POLAR BEARS | SPRING 2018

mate in the summer, but the fertilised eggs don’t actually implant until autumn, which is known as ‘delayed implantation’. Each female then builds a den, digging deep into snow drifts. They create a small snow cave, just big enough to turn around in, then curl up to wait for snow to close the entrance tunnel. Cubs are born in December, usually twins, but sometimes one or three cubs. They’ll keep snug in the den until March. During this entire time from autumn till spring, the mother


Newborn cubs are tiny, just 35cm long, weighing little more than ½kg, with closed eyes and no teeth. They rely on mum for warmth and food, rapidly growing on her rich milk which is 31% fat. Cubs stay with their months for up to three years, suckling for at least 20 months, and learning how to hunt, feed, swim and survive.

By Dr Liz Greengrass Associate Director Conservation Africa

MEET THE POLAR BEAR The beautiful polar bear is the biggest species of bear and the symbol of the Arctic. Supremely suited to life ‘in the freezer’, their thick white fur is a great camouflage and with a layer of blubber keeps them warm. But global warming is a big problem and the polar bears’ greatest threat. Higher temperatures mean Hudson Bay freezes later every year, so polar bears have less time to hunt and struggle to survive. Numbers are decreasing and there are as few as 22,000 polar bears, of which 15,000 are in Canada.

Mother and twins emerging from their snow den

© Skeeze

bear doesn’t eat or drink. For four to eight months she relies on her fat reserves, while she cares for her cubs.



Ginny’s story Beautiful Ginny is a rare moon bear who lives at a wonderful 33-acre bear sanctuary near Chengdu in SW China. She was rescued from a cruel bear farm where she was painfully ‘milked’ for bile, used in Asian medicine. Named after the Born Free Foundation’s Founder Virginia McKenna OBE, Ginny shares a spacious enclosure with several other rescued bears. Together they explore their lush foliage and bamboo forest, play on wooden climbing frames and relax in a cool pool. 44 GINNY | SPRING 2018

Latest news on Ginny the moon bear Santa Claus didn’t forget your Ginny and her friends last December, leaving a trail of carefully wrapped presents of food for the bears at Animals Asia’s sanctuary in China. He was assisted by an army of Animals Asia elves, who even decorated pine trees and helped to hide the gifts from prying noses. Weeks in the planning, the Christmas celebrations were a chance to really spoil the bears – rescued from a life of suffering in bile farms. Thank you for the part you play in this care! Animals Asia Founder and CEO Jill Robinson MBE said: “There’s nothing more


Every afternoon without fail, Ginny (behind) takes a snooze with her good friend Delaney

ANIMALS ASIA’S BEAR SANCTUARY CHINA of China, or inside their dens snuggled up together in big, furry bundles. Many of the Chengdu bears sleep through most of the winter, eating more in the autumn for some extra padding then semihibernating through the bleakest months. For some, their daily exercise might be a stroll around the enclosure in search of treats; for others a stretch in bed might be all they can muster, and your Ginny is no exception.

By Laura Gosset Head of Education

satisfying than seeing the chaos left in the wake of the bears’ Christmas party - broken pinatas, half-eaten jam tarts, wrapping paper in shreds.To us, every bear is a cherished member of the family and Christmas is all about spending time with loved ones and showing you care with gifts and treats.” Your beautiful sleepy bear Ginny is now enjoying the colder months and like the other bears is spending the winter doing what bears do best – snoozing. It’s been a chilly few months at the sanctuary and the bears have once again proved themselves to be master nest-builders. As the temperatures fell, the team found them snug in the middle of giant piles of straw or leaves, snoring for all

MEET THE MOON BEAR Moon bears are inquisitive and opportunistic, adept at exploiting their mountain forest habitat. Named after the crescent of ivory fur on their chests, they are officially known as Asiatic black bears. Moon bears are under threat, due to deforestation and loss of habitat and some 25,000 survive in the wild. Sadly they suffer terrible exploitation at human hands. Caught from the wild, thousands of moon bears are kept in cruel bear ‘farms’. Born Free is helping Animals Asia to stop this exploitation and support the rescue of farmed bears.

SPRING 2018 | GINNY 45

KYRIAKOS Your Kyriakos, weighing in at around 170kg, is one of the biggest and most powerful bears in the sanctuary. All of the bears at Arcturos have been enjoying their expansive natural environment and happily there have been no social problems between the residents. Come autumn the bears started digging their dens, preparing themselves for the long winter sleep to come. Yes, even in Greece temperatures drop below zero and western Macedonia can experience heavy snow. Interestingly, brown bears do not fully hibernate, they just go into a deep winter sleep from which they can be easily woken. Unfortunately, until late December, there was not enough snow so the bears were not ready to sleep. During this period the team increased their food to a massive 20kg each day! This bear-sized meal helped them prepare - while sleeping they can go for over 100 days without food or water so need to build up their fat reserves. Your Kyriakos was very active and playful for all this season. He was always curious about what was going on in the nearby enclosures and even seemed to enjoy the presence of humans – probably because he and his twin Manolis were hand-reared. The animal enclosure was enriched with pumpkins, and Kyriakos seemed especially happy and grateful for his. At first he just 46 KYRIAKOS | SPRING 2018

played with them – rolling them around, then finally realised his toys were edible! Meanwhile the team is working hard to enlarge the sanctuary facilities, so they can offer a second chance to more animals in need. In fact last autumn two grey wolves were rescued from Serbia and have been given a new home at Arcturos’ wolf sanctuary.

By Laura Gosset Head of Education

CARING FOR BEARS Most of the rescued bears at Arcturos are former dancing bears. Fortunately this cruel and exploitative ‘entertainment’ is now at an end in Greece. The country was the first in Europe to ban wild animals in circuses. The sanctuary now also helps return rescued bear cubs to the wild when possible.


Latest news on Kyriakos the brown bear


Kyriakos’s story Kyriakos (also known as Ben) shares a spacious forest enclosure with twin brother Manolis and other rescued bears. One of the biggest bears at the sanctuary, his favourite activities are eating and sleeping! Wild-born in northern Greece in January 2004, the brothers were only four months old when their mother was killed.


We’ll miss you Mitsos

© Arcturos

We are so sorry to share the news that Mitsos, the oldest and wisest of bears at the sanctuary, has died of old age. Nearly 30 years old he peacefully slipped away in his sleep, lying in his den, which he had dug for his winter slumbers. Mitsos arrived at Arcturos in 1993 - having performed as a dancing bear - and enjoyed nearly 25 years there.


Before Born Free


At our rescue centre in Ethiopia

“I can run and relax in the sun” Hailu the cheetah (p14) Before Born Free

“I have a new family” At our rescue centre in Ethiopia

Uwerr the hyena (p38)

Before Born Free

At our rescue centre in Ethiopia

“I’ve got my confidence back” Safia the lioness (p8)

If the animals could tell their stories you would want to save them all! Donate now:

Born Free ADOPT Magazine - Spring 2018  
Born Free ADOPT Magazine - Spring 2018