Again Emily, Aitong and Sweet Sally have kept in close touch with the other orphans, joining them at the Stockades, or soon after leaving, on the mornings of the 6th, 10th, 26th, and the 8th when they escorted the babies back to the Stockades, and Ndara remained outside with Emily’s group until they left. On the 7th, Emily’s group were feeding up Mazinga Hill, and upon leaving, the other orphans scented them, and joined them there. Again Ndara was tempted to follow Emily’s group when they separated, but later thought better of it and returned. Emily’s group paid a short visit to the Stockades on the 17th to take a drink of water and on the 23rd, when the other orphans were already in their Night Stockade. They met up with the orphans actually at the mudbath on the 24th, when Aitong sprayed cold water over the backs of the babies, and again on the 30th, after which Emily led the orphans to introduce them to a new feeding area with lusher vegetation below the Baobab waterhole. Thus Emily’s group has been with the still dependent orphans for 9 days out of the 30 days of April.
The wild Matriarch known as “Naomi” and her herd enjoyed a very happy morning and mudbath with our orphans on the 13th, after which Laikipia opted to go off with them, and spent a night out. The next day (14th) he emerged from a wild group of 15th when he scented the orphans out in the bush, and returned to rejoin them after this Night Out.
Lissa, who was with Uaso and her two daughters, Lara and Lali,turned up at the Stockades to drink at 5 p.m. on the 11th, when Lara waited at the Spring Gate to escort the other orphans back to their Stockades, before leaving with her mother, Uaso and sister. It must have made her feel very important to be able to do this!
On the 9th. whilst feeding up Mazinga Hill, Laikipia, Sosian and Salama became separated from the others when they left for the mudbath. The three bulls rushed down to join the group at the mudbath, where they were greeted with great joy, as though they had been gone for weeks!
The Voi Orphans’ Stockades have had a face-lift this month, after which Icholta, Mukwaju, Lolokwe, Mweiga and Edie hardly recognised their new quarters, and were wary about going back in. Only after encouragement from Edie and Mweiga who had no such reservations, did they condescend and carried out a close inspection before settling down. Likewise, Natumi had to escort Mpala, Seraa, Irima and Mpala to their place before returning to her own.
Mweiga has again relished the compassion and support of her two closest friends, Mweya and Seraa, both of whom often remain behind to accompany her at her usual slow pace rather than keep abreast of the mainstream. Dessicated Coconut is now added to Mweiga’s milk and barley ration, in an attempt to beef up her strength. Coconut contains the correct fat for a baby elephant, and Mweiga loves this new additive.
Poor Mweya got into trouble when she poked her trunk down an anthill hole, and got it bitten by the ants, which had to be detached by the Keepers. Then, whilst the group were feeding peacefully in amongst a friendly herd of impalas, Mweya disrupted this peaceful coexistence by crawling towards the antelopes on her belly, which scared them enough to run away!
Buffaloes have again provided entertainment, especially two bulls fighting over a female. After an attempt by the Boys to chase them off failed, both the orphans and their Keepers beat a retreat. Likewise, an encounter with a very large cobra below Mazinga Hill sent everyone off in a different direction, as did a crusty old buffalo bull who charged the Keepers, forcing them to flee, and leaving the elephants very confused and scared. Yet again Nyiro became unpopular when he tried to mount Mweiga, making her fall to the ground screaming. Wisely, he took himself off into “Coventry” for many hours before risking contact with the others, obviously fearing reprisals. Salama became unpopular when he blocked the passage of all the others on their way out to feed, as did Solango, when he Burra’s tail as Burra and Sosian were engaged in a pushing match!
The Voi orphans joined a herd of 10 wild elephants, led by a cow with very long tusks, on the 29th. At first they were deterred by this impressive member of the wild herd, but later had a wonderful morning feeding with them, playing with age-mates, and wallowing together at noon. Salama’s age-mate, with whom he had been having fun during the morning, was tempted to remain behind when the wild herd left, but decided to follow them after l0 minutes.
The Voi Stockades, Staff Canteen, and environs now look a lot better having been renovated. Some of the buildings, which date back to the fifties, were overdue attention, and we are very pleased with the new look of the Voi Reintegration Facility.