Keepers' Diaries, April 2011

Voi Reintegration Unit

A great sadness for the Voi Elephant Keepers was finding one of the two orphaned ostriches they had so painstakingly hand-reared, dead, when they opened up the stable on the l9th. The Vet undertook a post mortem to try and determine the cause of such a mysterious demise, and attributed it to a possible snake bite.

01 April 2011

Light showers enhanced the mood of the Orphans, who enjoyed playing in the damp earth. Lesanju led her group to the noon mudbath, where playful wrestling took place – Tassia took on his great rival Taveta while Mzima engaged Siria and Lesanju played with Sinya. They browsed close to the waterhole for the rest of the day before returning to the Stockades in the evening.

02 April 2011

Siria and Shimba were already half way up Mazinga Hill when Emily’s group came to the Stockades closely followed by Icholta and Solango. Having taken water and enjoyed some supplements, the Ex Orphans searched briefly for the Juniors who were still browsing up the hill. They then headed in the direction of the airfield. The Juniors came down the hill for a mudbath at the Stockades, after which they enjoyed another at the Big Waterhole below the Headquarters.

03 April 2011

Solango came on his own to join the Juniors before they went to the waterhole for their noon milk and mudbath. He was warmly welcomed into the group by Wasessa and Siria, Siria having made special friends with Solango during his long convalescence as his injured leg healed. As the Juniors headed to the waterhole, he trailed them and joined them at their mudbath, spending the afternoon with them and separating from them only at the Spring Gate near the Stockades in the evening.

04 April 2011

Solango was an early morning visitor who surprised the Juniors as they were taking their supplements at the Stockades before heading out. He then accompanied them to Mazinga Hill, but was left behind when they headed to the northern side of the hill. He did not meet up with them again that day.

05 April 2011

On a cool day only Mzima went into the mudbath, leaving the rest to enjoy a soil bath instead.

06 April 2011

The Juniors all ran for their milk, Taveta accidentally colliding with Dida in the rush. After the usual Stockade games it was time to head out to browse. Emily’s group, accompanied by Solango, came to the Stockades at 1.30 p.m. and enjoyed chasing the orphaned ostriches around the compound. They then left heading in the direction taken by the Juniors, but missed meeting them, since the Juniors were still up the hill.

07 April 2011

Emily’s group came to the Stockades again after the Juniors had already left. This time they were accompanied by a teenaged wild bull. At the Junior mudbath Wasessa went in first followed by Mzima and Siria. The others opted for a dust bath.

08 April 2011

Emily’s group again came to the Stockades, this time without the wild friend, and again missing the Juniors who had already left. Mweya tried to chase after them, but turned back, eager not to miss out on the supplement handout, but Icholta managed to reach them and enjoyed a Pushing Match with Wasessa. She spent some time with the Juniors before returning to rejoin Emily’s group as they were moving off. Mkuki and Aruba (the two Ex Orphaned Kudus) came to the Stockades today and enjoyed feeding within the large enclosure that was home to Solango during his convalescence.

09 April 2011

Emily’s group came to the Stockades again today where they met up with Solango, who had also come in search of the Juniors. Lolokwe was anxious to challenge Solango to a wrestling match, but Solango was not keen. He went with Emily’s group when they left for the field, but did not make contact with the Juniors today.

10 April 2011

The Keepers were shocked when they opened up the Stable housing the orphaned ostriches this morning and found one dead. The Vet was called to undertake a Post Mortem to determine the cause of death, and will release his findings later. Emily’s group joined the Juniors as they were browsing along the Southern side of Mazinga hill. Mpala defeated Siria in a wrestling match, and then mounted onto him to show his dominance. The rest of the Junior group were not anxious to be thus targeted, so Lesanju steered them away. Solango remained with the Juniors up until the time they returned to the Stockades in the evening.

11 April 2011

This morning Solango came to the Stockades with his friend, Mpala. Both drank water and spent time with the Juniors before the Youngsters headed out to browse. Solango and Mpala then left in a different direction.

12 April 2011

Emily’s group, with Solango in tow, came to the Stockades this morning and had fun sharing the dairy cubes with the Juniors. The Youngsters were permitted to play with Emily’s baby, Eve, but only under the very close supervision of Nannies Ndara and Sweet Sally. Eve became tired after some time and lay down to sleep. The Juniors attempted to rouse her, but Ndara kept the baby between her legs for protection. When Emily’s group left, Burra, Thoma, Solango and Irima remained with the Juniors until midday before peeling off.

13 April 2011

Solango and Irima were early visitors at the Stockades this morning, quietly standing behind the Youngsters as they took their milk ration. The small ones were in awe of the bigger bulls, touching them with their trunks, and rumbling with happiness at being afforded the privilege! Solango conceded a wrestling match with Siria, who is much smaller, but he is not keen to wrestle with his own age group yet.

14 April 2011

The Juniors browsed the foot of Mazinga Hill today. At the mudbath Siria mounted onto Kenia in the middle of the pool while Tassia and Taveta engaged one another in the usual wrestling match. Shimba rolled onto Wasessa’s head making her scream which drove all out of the pool. Shimba fled, fearing Wasessa’s revenge while the others rested under shade.

15 April 2011

The Juniors were joined by Solango as soon as they arrived at the feeding area this morning. Solango rumbled with happiness as soon as he spotted them. He accompanied them to the noon mudbath, and had fun playing with them in it, Dida, Sinya and Lempaute opting to be just spectators at the edge rather than engage in the exuberant games of the others. Solango was left behind when the Juniors began to return to the Stockades for the night.

16 April 2011

On a cool day the orphans decided against a mudbath, but instead splashed water over themselves, after which they enjoyed soil dusting. Dida joined in the splashing and dusting, Lempaute and Sinya the soil dusting stars of the day! Later, as they rested under shade, Tassia enjoyed suckling Wasessa’s ear.

17 April 2011

Before the Juniors reached the noon waterhole venue today, Emily’s group, who had been there, had already left, but Mweya returned to join the Juniors, engaging Siria in a head butting session. Later Mweya and Siria enjoyed rolling in loose soil when they were joined by Sinya. Ex kudu orphans Mkuki and Aruba came to the Stockades in the evening and hung around all night.

18 April 2011

Lesanju and Kenia led the Juniors to browse northwards in the main Park this morning, Siria trying to mount onto Kenia as they later moved towards the Hill. Siria and Shimba climbed half way up the hill before it was time to head to the waterhole for the noon milk feed. There the Juniors were joined by Solango, Thoma and Mpala, Thoma engaging Siria in a pushing match while Solango scratched his body against a tree. After a dustbath the Ex Orphans left, probably heading back to Emily’s group.

19 April 2011

During the early morning milk feed Sinya was pushed down by Wasessa and was immediately comforted by Lesanju. In the evening a wild herd came to drink at the Stockades but the Juniors were already in for the night. The herd comprised 3 big females with their small and middle aged calves.

20 April 2011

Lesanju led the Juniors out to browse as usual, all following her in a straight line. All enjoyed the wallow at noon, trumpeting happily. When Wasessa, Kenia and Lesanju exited the wallow and joined Lempaute and Dida in soil dusting, the Siria and Mzima went back into the pool while Ndii and Taveta scratched their bodies against a tree. The two boys joined them when they moved off to feed after the mudbath.

21 April 2011

Emily’s group came to intermingle with the Juniors at the Stockades in the morning. Mpala scratched himself against a rock whilst Mweya went in search of Siria for a Pushing Match but found him already engaged with Thoma. Later the Juniors spent a quiet day feeding and returned to the Stockades in the evening to enjoy their cut greens.

22 April 2011

The remaining orphaned ostrich accompanied the Junior Elephant group as they went to browse in the main Park today. He kept close to the Keepers for protection but Siria and Dida kept trying to chase it away, so the Keepers separated the ostrich from them.

23 April 2011

Emily’s group came to intermingle with the Juniors at the Stockades this morning. Sweet Sally engaged Siria in a wrestling match. Edie’s baby, little Ella, decided to take a siesta, interrupted by Eve who kept on rousing her. Seraa allowed Taveta access to Eve for a game which he greatly enjoyed and was a rare privilege for Taveta. Later Emily’s group left the Juniors as they reached the southern side of Mazinga hill. Siria trailed them for a while, but later returned to Lesanju’s unit.

24 April 2011

Wasessa and Sinya led the Junior group out today after the usual Stockade games, later browsing their way to the waterhole where all enjoyed the mudbath. Shimba and Taveta had a tug-of-war with a stick, each holding one end in their mouth – a new game which they enjoyed. The had to catch up with the others as they began to move off.

25 April 2011

Along the slopes of Mazinga Hill in the evening, Lesanju and Lempaute came running towards the Keepers as though alarmed. The Keepers could not establish the cause of their supposed fear, instead concluding that it was Lesanju’s usual tactic to get her herd moving when it was time to return to the Stockades in the evening.

26 April 2011

The Juniors browsed the northern side of Mazinga hill, reaching the waterhole at noon. Having downed their milk, Shimba introduced another game into the itinerary – rolling down the slippery banks of the waterhole which the others were reluctant to undertake. Ndii later led the column back to the Stockades in the evening.

27 April 2011

Emily and Eve accompanied by Sweet Sally, Loisaba, Ndara, Vita and Solango came to the Stockades at 10 a.m. Other members and Edie’s group were missing on this occasion. Having enjoyed a hand-out of Copra Cake they left, heading towards the Junior’s waterhole venue, but missed meeting up since by the time they reached it, the Juniors had already left.

28 April 2011

Edie, her calf, Ella, and other members of Emily’s main Ex Orphan group came to the Stockades at noon. Those who were with Emily yesterday were today missing in this group, suggesting that the two groups had parted company again. Later they headed to the big waterhole reaching it just as the Juniors had left. On the way back to the Stockades in the evening Siria and Wasessa separated, probably trying to meet up with Edie and her group, but the Keepers called them back. No doubt remembering that milk, Grewia branches and supplements awaited them back home, they did not hesitate!

29 April 2011

Icholta and Mweya came to the Stockades in the morning and along with the Juniors, enjoyed the hand-out of morning supplements. They then accompanied the Youngsters high up Mazinga hill to browse until noon when the Youngsters came down for their milk and mudbath.

30 April 2011

Having downed their morning milk, the usual stockade games took place, Tassia playing with Taveta in a game of hide and seek which went on as the group headed towards the main Park. Later they settled into browsing. A lot of fun was had at the mudbath and in the evening Dida led the column back, but was overtaken by her friend, Ndii. Dida is thin and appears to be a very slow grower, not thriving as she should even though she feeds well. She is visibly slower than all the others. Others:- a leopard came on two separate nights this month, peeping in the window of the stable that houses the remaining orphaned ostrich at night. He even tried to scratch open the door on one occasion, but was unsuccessful.