Keepers' Diaries, April 2003

Voi Reintegration Unit

01 April 2003

There was a disagreement between Sally and Mweya over the noon bottle of milk today, when Sally tried to take Mweya’s share. The Keepers had to separate them. Meanwhile Mweiga was enjoying her mudbath when Salama came and pushed her down. She yelled, which brought both Emily and Aitong to the rescue, Aitong laying her trunk gently over Mweiga to reassure her. Back at the Stockades, Sosian now has his share of Copra cake alone, because he has proved to be a bit of a bully, pushing the others away.

02 April 2003

Nasalot was reluctant to go into the mudbath today, so Laikipia came and gently pushed her in. In the afternoon Aitong charged a herd of 20 impalas and chased them for about 400 metres. Loisaba, Tsavo and Ndara joined in the chase. They came running back to Emily, Loisaba leading, whilst Tsavo came last, rumbling in fear. Emily ran to retrieve him. Back at the Stockades, Mweya welcomed Solango into her stable, placing her trunk on his back. Seeing this, Sally became jealous and pushed him out into his own quarters.

03 April 2003

Upon arrival at the mudbath, Kinna and Mukwaju, who were leading the group, came to an abrupt halt when they found a wild herd there led by large cow with long tusks in the pool. Salama and Edie gave them confidence, striding in and mixing freely with the wild group. Tsavo enjoyed a game of hide and seek with a wild calf of his size. Thoma, Burra, and Solango were very scared when a baboon jumped into their Stockade to steal their Copra cake at 6 p.m. When they realised it was a baboon, they joined forces to chase it out.

04 April 2003

Having left the Stockades in the morning, Sweet Sally went to try and suckle Aitong, but was too big to fit underneath, although Aitong spread her legs and did her best to accommodate her. At the mudbath, all the orphans joined the wild herd led by Naomi (the wild Matriarch who is a friend of Emily’s). Solango, Thoma and Burra retreated back to the Keepers when Naomi chased off Aitong who was showing too much interest in the wild babies. Ilingwezi, Salama and Nyiro spent the rest of the afternoon with the wild group, joining the orphans at 5.30 p.m. on their way back to the Stockades.

05 April 2003

Nyiro found himself downed when he tried to test his strength against Sosian, and Yatta came to help him up. On the way back to the Stockades Emily disciplined Edie for pushing Tsavo and refusing to share the Copra cake with him.

06 April 2003

Today, Sosian allowed Solango to share his copra cake, but chased away Burra and Thoma. Loisaba got bitten by Safari Ants, and vented revenge on Mvita, shoving her down. Mvita rumbled loudly, which sent all the orphans off to the mudbath before drinking at the water bins.

07 April 2003

All the orphans browsed together today, rather than in their usual separate groups. Aitong chased off a lesser kudu, joined by all the others led by Natumi, who was almost knocked down by a buffalo she ran into, and who missed hitting her by inches. All the orphans then retreated back to the Keepers, being very scared.

08 April 2003

Aitong took Sally off to feed with her alone, 200 metres from the others, and allowed Sally to suckle her ears. They spent 2 hours away from the others. Meanwhile, Salama, Natumi, Kinna and Nyiro decided to also feed away from the other, seeming confident to be separated, but joining the others on the way back to the Stockades in the evening. So far there has been very little rain in Tsavo, so there are a lot of wild elephants also using the orphans’ watering bins and mudbath, which means that we have to do several water trips a day.

09 April 2003

Salama, Yatta and Icholta were browsing at the foot of Mzinga Hill, when Salama shoved Icholta, who tried to snatch a branch from his mouth. Icholta bellowed loudly, which brought Aitong rushing down the hill. She touched both Icholta and Salama lovingly with her trunk, and then took them up the hill to feed. During mudbath, Mweya wanted to charge some impalas who came to drink, but slipped and fell, yelling loudly. This scared the other babies, who ran back to the Keepers, Thoma taking the lead.

10 April 2003

Aitong took Sally to mudwallow with her at noon, and they had a wonderful time. Icholta was jealous when she saw Edie touching Solango on the mouth, and came to push Edie away. Edie knocked down Solango by mistake.

11 April 2003

Sosian pushed down Solango, trying to take his bottle of milk. Mweiga disciplined Sosian, pushing him away. Nyiro got pushed from behind by Loisaba, and collided with Tsavo who was feeding. Tsavo wanted to take revenge on Nyiro, but he managed to escape.

12 April 2003

Aitong was annoyed today because she was left behind the others. She ran to the mudbath and knocked over all the water bins, which meant that we had to refill them. After the mudbath, Burra played a game of hide and seek with Laikipia. Later, Burra found a tortoise on the path, and pushed it with his trunk. The tortoise made a hissing noise, which scared him, sending him running back to join the other orphans.

13 April 2003

Sosian took on more than he could chew when he pushed Mulika. She chased him to take revenge, until the Keepers went to the rescue! At the mudbath Laikipia and Salama were having a wonderful game, which came to an end when Salama sat on Laikipia’s head. He screamed and Emily came to the rescue.

14 April 2003

At 6 a.m., having left the Stockades, and after the orphans had separated into their different groups, Sosian was leading the young group when he met 12 wild elephants, who wanted to be friendly. He became very scared, and led all the babies back to the Keepers, screaming, followed by the wild group. The screams brought Emily along at the run, and she took all the babies into the wild group. Mweya, Sally, Solango and Tsavo began pushing matches with wild babies of their size, and all had a wonderful morning, separating from the wild group only after the mudbath.

15 April 2003

It was so hot that Mweya led the babies to the mudbath at 9.30 a.m., and again at noon. At the mudbath Natumi and Icholta tested their strength, each vying to push a tree trunk that was floating in the pool. Natumi won. Mweiga, Loisaba and Tsavo became very restless when Emily ran off towards the Airstrip. She returned later and joined the others, but no one knew why she went.

16 April 2003

After mudbath, Aitong took Sally to rest with her under a tree. Aitong closed her eyes, and Sally “kissed” her ears with her trunk. Meanwhile Ilingwezi and Natumi kicked an elephant dung ball, playing with it like a football. The game ended when the dung fell apart. Emily was chased off by a wild cow when she tried to join the wild group and ran off screaming. When at a safe distance, she turned round to demonstrate angrily at the cow, backed up by Aitong, Loisaba, Ndara, Kinna, Nyiro and Tsavo, all of whom put on a good show, being careful to keep a safe distance!

17 April 2003

At the Stockades, Burra refused to let Solango share the Copra cake, so the Keepers reprimanded him, and stood by as Solango took his share. Yatta was feeling the cold this morning, all the hair on her body erect. Later, she became active, as it warmed up. At 7 a.m. Emily’s group joined a herd of 12 wild elephants who were very friendly with the orphans, and browsed happily amongst them. They parted only when Emily decided to lead the other orphans to the noon mudbath. Mweya loves Solango, and always encourages him to share her stable, but this makes Sally jealous, who pushed Solango out.

18 April 2003

At 2 p.m. seven wild elephants joined the orphans. At first Burra and Thoma were scared, but Aitong reassured them by pulling them close using her trunk. Ndara and a wild calf of her size had a wonderful game pushing each other. The wild mother didn’t mind, but both Emily and Aitong watched events very closely.

19 April 2003

After the noon mudbath, Tsavo went looking for Nyiro and they played an extended game of hide and seek, and mounting each other, which only ended at the Stockades in the evening, when Nyiro wanted to stay with Tsavo during the night. However, Salama noticed his presence in the wrong house, and chased him out. Nyiro was annoyed, but was comforted by Mukwaju, who kissed him with his trunk. At 6.30 p.m., back in the Stockades, Mweya knelt down to grab Sosian’s leg with her trunk, and got her head stuck between the railings. She bellowed for help, and the Keepers had to come to the rescue and free her. Her cries upset Sosian so much that the Keepers had to remain with him during the night. One of the warts on Loisaba’s trunk has fallen off, and another soon will, having been treated with Thuya.

20 April 2003

Whilst running back to the Stockades for her bottle, Sally almost trod on a Monitor Lizard, which tried to bite her foot. Sally was very shaken, trembling all over, but she managed to take her milk. Meanwhile Ilingwezi got into trouble for pulling out Loisaba’s trunk whenever Loisaba tried to drink. Loisaba got annoyed and wanted revenge, but Ilingwezi yelled, and Emily came between them. Emily calmed Loisaba by touching her head with her trunk.

21 April 2003

Returning in the evening, Emily suddenly realised that Mulika had remained behind with some wild elephants. She ran back trumpeting to fetch Mulika, who immediately joined her, and together they returned, trumpeting happily. Solango tried to take Ndara’s bottle of milk ahead of her arrival, but Ndara saw this, and pushed him down. Nasalot rushed to his rescue, and chased off Ndara. The Keepers had to recall Ndara for her share of milk.

22 April 2003

At 9 a.m. Salama jumped on Lolokwe. Lolokwe was not pleased about this, but didn’t do anything, not wanting to start a fight. At 3 p.m. Loisaba decided to join a wild group of seven, but the other orphans did not want to join her. She called them to no avail, and becoming annoyed, she returned and started fighting Laikipia.

23 April 2003

The orphans were joined at the mudbath by a wild group of 10. Solango was very bold, and started sniffing one of the wild cows, and when the wild cow lay down in the water, he climbed on her. All the orphans joined the wild group after the mudbath and spent the afternoon with them. Sosian engaged a wild calf of his size, and got trounced, falling down and sustaining a wound on his back. He was treated back at the Stockades.

24 April 2003

A tough fight broke out between Sally and Sosian who were competing for the milk. Sally attempted to block Sosian with her bottom, so Sosian became very annoyed and charged onto her. Natumi separated them, calming them by touching their mouths with her trunk, and eventually they returned for the milk. Emily chased off two buffalo who were approaching the orphans, backed up by Ilingwezi, Edie, Nyiro and Mvita.

25 April 2003

Mukwaju and Edie had a disagreement at the mudbath when Mukwaju tried to stop Edie from scratching herself against a bank. Aitong came to calm them down. Solango and Mweya chased two squirrels and Solango almost found himself planted against the electric fence. He was very angry to see the squirrels pass through, and then stand up on their rear legs, looking back cheekily at him!

26 April 2003

Mweya and Nasalot had a wonderful game of hide and seek, which was interrupted when Mukwaju started mounting Mweya.

27 April 2003

Burra had a bad ending in the mudbath when Thoma, Kinna, Mvita and Salama ducked him and kept him submerged, forcing the Keepers to plunge in and rescue him. He was very shaken and began trumpeting for us to clear the mud from his trunk. Ilingwezi, Natumi and Laikipia chased 5 hornbills who were scratching around the Keepers’ Canteen. There is a herd of about l0 wild elephants who have discovered that fresh water is put in the Orphans’ Drinking Bins ahead of the mudbath. They come and finish it all, so we now have to take the water after the orphans have arrived.

28 April 2003

During the usual scramble for the milk, Sosian chased off all the other babies, and had to receive a stern warning from the Keepers. At the Spring Gate, Salama and Laikipia began a pushing game which deteriorated into a fight, leaving them behind all the others. They ran to catch up, trumpeting, and were welcomed by Tsavo.

29 April 2003

The rain started very early in the morning, so all the orphans had a lovely time playing in the puddles when they came out, trumpeting excitedly. Solango, Burra and Kinna made a small mudbath and enjoyed playing in it.

30 April 2003

Thoma and Solango were highly scared when 2 giraffes approached whilst they were resting under a tree. They yelled and Emily and Aitong rushed to see what the problem was, chasing away the two giraffe, reinforced by Mukwaju, Icholta, Mvita and Mulika. Tsavo is still green from one heavy rainstorm, and the condition of the orphans is very good, with no sickness cases. Mweiga has put on weight, and has become stronger, able now to climb the hill easier, and get up by herself having lain down.