Keepers' Diaries, April 2004

Voi Reintegration Unit

Nursery Elephants:- The month began on a frenetic note, when what was foreseen as a mere photocall in exchange for a donation to the Orphans’ Project, unexpectedly became a high profile occasion. Nakumat in conjunction with Samsung planned a launch of their new Smart Card using the Nursery Elephants as a backdrop, since their Logo happens to be an elephant pushing a Shopping Trolley! A huge Shopping Trolley was duly delivered ahead of time fpor Practice Sessions, and when the Hon. A.A. Moody Awori EBS MP, the Vice President of Kenya and Minister for Home Affairs agreed to grace the occasion as Guest of Honour, the event took on a different complexion!

01 April 2004

A group of 5 wild elephants joined the orphans at their noon mudbath. An old bull who was with them scented where the Keepers were hiding, and charged, forcing them to flee.

02 April 2004

At 9.30 a.m. a wild group of 7 elephants joined the orphans. Mpala, Nasalot and Seraa ran forward to welcome the wild herd, whose Matriarch stretched out her trunk to touch the approaching orphans lovingly. Laikipia locked trunks with a wild calf of his size, as if to say “jambo”. Ilingwezi captured a wild baby’s hind leg with her trunk, wanting it to remain behind, as the wild group wandered off.

03 April 2004

The day was cold, so the orphans enjoyed playing, testing their strengths in competition with one another. Burra took on Solango whilst Edie challenged Nyiro.

04 April 2004

At a wonderful noon mudbath, Icholta lay down and sprayed soil over her body, watched closely by Ndara and Mulika.

05 April 2004

Ilingwezi took a nap at 8.47 a.m., but was awoken by Natumi. Laikipia and Salama enjoyed a game charging one another and later testing their strength against one another.

06 April 2004

Salama and Laikipia again engaged each other in a game of chase after the mudbath, but later joined the others to rest under a tree, because it was a hot afternoon.

07 April 2004

Edie and Mpala kept shifting from tree to tree, trying to look for good shelter from the heat. They chose the tree under which Salama was resting, and when he started trying to mount them, they took refuge in a thicket.

08 April 2004

At 4.47 p.m., Ndara shoved Lolokwe who became annoyed, so Ndara ran to Emily for protection.

09 April 2004

Aitong left the group to browse alone in a thick patch of bush at l0.23 a.m. Sweet Sally became very restless, rumbling and screaming, which brought Aitong back at the run to touch her gently on the mouth and calm her. She and Sally spent the rest of the day browsing close to one another.

10 April 2004

Emily enjoyed a good scratch against a tree after the noon mudbath. Nyiro, Lolokwe, Salama and Tsavo played a game of hide and seek at 4.15 p.m.

11 April 2004

Tsavo took advantage of Laikipia, by trying to mount him when he was lying down. Laikipia took no notice, and merely lay his trunk over Nyiro’s head, closed his eyes and continued to enjoy his rest! Nyiro gave up after a couple of minutes, and wandered off.

12 April 2004

Sosian and Nyiro were so busy playing with one another at 6.30 a.m. that they found themselves left behind the group, who proceeded on their way. After 5 minutes, the two came running to catch up. Icholta lay down and had a wonderful dust-bath at 9.27 a.m.

13 April 2004

Tsavo mounted onto Lolokwe’s back at 11.48 a.m. Later Salama had an exuberant mudbath, watched closely by Mvita, Yatta and Mpala.

14 April 2004

All the orphans spent the entire day feeding, enjoying the wide range of shrubs brought on by the abundant rains, so there were few interactions.

15 April 2004

Sally screamed when she realised Aitong was wandering off on her own again and ran to join Aitong, both returning to join the others later.

16 April 2004

Morani lay down and grabbing Thoma’s trunk, pulled it. Thoma yelled loudly, which brought the Keepers to her rescue! At midday Dika joined the orphans. Emily and Yatta stretched out their trunks in greeting to welcome him, after which Emily sniffed his genitals. He spent the whole day with the orphans and returned with them to the Stockade at 6.31 p.m. departing only at 8.30 p.m.

17 April 2004

Dika again joined the orphans in the morning at 7.05 a.m. when he chased Emily here and there, wanting to mount her.

18 April 2004

Seraa tried to mount onto Solango’s back, but they both fell over. Solango did not take revenge against Seraa when they rose again, instead choosing to ostracise her for the rest of the day. At 12.07 p.m. Dika again tried to mount Emily. Later a herd of impalas intermingled close to the orphans, but the elephants did not disturb them.

19 April 2004

The orphans played games of pushing one another here and there. Solango played with Thoma whilst Sosian took on little Morani.

20 April 2004

At 7.18 a.m. a wild bull of Emily’s size joined the orphans, and Emily went off with him, returning half an hour later.

21 April 2004

Salama and Ilingwezi initiated a pushing game at 11 a.m. The game deteriorated into a tough battle, which brought Emily along to restore the peace.

22 April 2004

Dika again joined the orphans at 7.18 a.m. and again tried to mount Emily. This caused great excitement amongst the group who charged about trumpeting and yelling, which prompted him to refrain and leave Emily in peace. He remained with the orphans, leaving after the noon mudbath.

23 April 2004

Laikipia mounted Lolokwe early in the morning, whilst Yatta was a keen spectator. When Nyiro tried to take a branch from Laikipia’s mouth at 9.37 a.m., a tough fight broke out. The Keepers went in to separate them.

24 April 2004

Dika joined the orphans in the morning, but left to go on his own at 10 a.m. Aitong touched Mweya’s face gently to reassure her as she was struggling to get out of a ditch. Eventually Mweya knelt on her front legs and pulled herself free.

25 April 2004

Laikipia mounted onto Mweya, which made her fall down. He tried to mount her again, but the Keepers warned him off. Dika was with the orphans at the mudbath, and remained there when the group left to browse.

26 April 2004

Nyiro mounted onto Lolokwe’s stomach when wallowing in the mud, nearly suffocating him. Lolokwe heaved him off.

27 April 2004

Solango pushed Morani down at 10.01 a.m. when Morani approached the bush on which Solango was browsing.

28 April 2004

Emily chased off 4 impalas that approached the orphans as they were feeding.

29 April 2004

Laikipia tried to mount onto Solango at 4.32 p.m., but Solango managed to run away and evade him.

30 April 2004

Edie spent most of the day browsing close to Nyiro, playing with him and testing his strength at intervals. Dika continues to join the orphans out in the bush most days, but rarely returns to the Stockade, preferring to remain out in the bush, and meet up with them the next day. Some of the orphans have warts, which are being treated with homeopathic “Thuya” pillules and topical Thuya tincture.