Keepers' Diaries, April 2012

Voi Reintegration Unit

The month began well, with the arrival of Ex Orphans Emily, Edie and their respective entourage and babies who brought a wild friend to the Stockades for a handout of supplements. Sadly, however, the anticipated rains have fallen far short of expectations throughout Tsavo this season, so we face another tough drought year ahead, with all the usual ramifications.

01 April 2012

The orphans exited their stockades and downed a bottle of milk before leaving the compound. Emily and Edie’s groups, together with a wild friend, came to the stockades after the youngsters had left. They had a drink and copra cake. Burra engaged their wild friend in a pushing game in an effort to win more copra cake for himself.

02 April 2012

Today both Tasia and Emsaya were vying for Wasessa’s attention. They each wanted to be close to her. In the end the keepers had to intervene to separate the two. The afternoon was spent browsing before Dabassa led the way back to the stockades.

03 April 2012

The orphans played around the stockade before Lempaute and Sinya led the way out for the day to brows. Dabassa arrived at the waterhole first eager to get his share of milk before the others were given theirs. Taveta was the only one to go into the water and despite his best efforts to entice Sinya, Wasessa and Lempaute to join him, none of them did. Ndii led the way home in the evening.

04 April 2012

Lesanju showed incredible leadership potential this morning. As the orphans were on their way out to the bush they found their path blocked by a fallen branch. Lesanju acted quickly, using her trunk and tusks to move the tree so that they could continue on their way.

05 April 2012

Today Tassia loved being close to Wasessa, something that upset Emsaya who kept trying to get between the two. It was not till the end of the day that Emsaya got to spend some time with Wassesa, as Tassia had gone on ahead, as they made their way back to the stockades.

06 April 2012

After drinking her milk this morning Emsaya walked to Wasessa’s stockade to ensure that she would be the one to spend the day by her side. At the mudbath Kivuko and Taveta engaged each other in a pushing game.

07 April 2012

The orphans spent the morning browsing on the Eastern side of Mazinga Hill where Sinya and Lempaute kept climbing in an effort to reach the top. As they were busy enjoying the green vegetation they were late for their noon milk feed. They had a quick mudbath before returning to their browsing activities.

08 April 2012

Shimba and Mzima led the orphans to the Northern side of Mazinga Hill to browse. Lesanju, Sinya, Ndii and Kenia chose to remain at the foot while the rest browsed further up. Lesanju enjoyed a lengthy scratch against a tree trunk before heading to the mudwallow. Shimba and Mzima chose to forgo the mudbath and continue browsing. They were rejoined by the rest of the group in the afternoon.

09 April 2012

The orphans played a game of hide and seek at the stockades before Sinya led them out to the fields. Kivuko and Emsaya were the only ones to enter the mudbath today as the rest of the group thought it was too cold for a wallow. Kenia led the way home in the evening.

10 April 2012

The orphans were very energetic this morning engaging each other in all sorts of games before heading to the Northern side of the park to browse before going to the mudbath. They all had a lovely time wallowing in the water. On the way home Ndii took some time to stop and lie on a rock before rejoining the group.

11 April 2012

The orphans had fun chasing each other around the browsing fields this morning. The game quickly was turned into one of bush bashing by Rombo and Dabassa with all of the youngsters taking part, until Sinya, Lesanju and Lempaute brought the games to a halt and led the group to the mudbath. In the afternoon Lempaute stuck close to Mzima, who was plucking leaves from the higher branches, so that she enjoy them for herself.

12 April 2012

At the noon mudbath Ndii was the star of the show as he played in the water. He was having such fun that he attracted the attention of Sinya, Dabassa and Rombo who stood watching him. Lempaute tried to join Ndii but was too late as the group had was leaving the water to return to their browsing activities.

13 April 2012

As it was a hot day the orphans arrived at the mudbath earlier than usual. The entire group, Sinya included, all enjoyed a wallow. Kivuko was enjoying lying in the water before Mzima decided to sit on her stomach at which point Kivuko bellowed sending Mzima out of the water. This afternoon the keepers saw Ndara making her way to the stockades with Emily’s group. Upon closer inspection they found that she had three arrow wounds. The keepers called the Vet, Dr. Poghon, who came and treated Ndara for her wounds, removing the one remaining embedded arrow.

14 April 2012

At the mudwallow Wasessa had to help Layoni get up as he had lain down on a slippery slope and was unable to get up unaided. Taveta had fun drawing water into his trunk and spraying the rest of the group, who were not happy with his antics and left the water.

15 April 2012

The orphans exited the stockades in a rush all eager to get their share of milk before the group headed out for the day. At the mudbath the orphans found some waterbucks having a drink and did not hesitate to chase them off so that they could have the mudwallow to themselves.

16 April 2012

The morning was spent browsing on the eastern side of Mazinga hill until it was time for the milk dependent group to have their noon feed. In the evening the older members of Lesanju’s group decided they wanted to continue browsing, returning to the stockades at 9pm.

17 April 2012

It was a cold morning as the orphans led by Lesanju headed to the fields. By noon it was warmer and they all enjoyed the mudbath. Rombo, Dabassa and Ndii had fun sitting and sliding down the banks of the mudwallow into the water. The afternoon was spent browsing in the vicinity of the mudbath before Dabassa and Layoni led the group home.

18 April 2012

Mzima, Shimba and Layoni climbed to the top of Mazinga hill to browse and refused to come down with the others at noon or in the evening. They returned to the stockades at 7:30pm to welcoming rumbles from the rest of the group.

19 April 2012

The orphans left the stockades early this morning, heading out to the fields as the sun was rising. Mpenzi visited the stockade at 5:30 pm after an absence of several months. The keepers were excited to see that she had a young female calf with her. Her first born has really grown and acts as a nannie to her younger sister.

20 April 2012

At the mudbath Taveta tried to entice Sinya into the water for some bathing fun. Sinya was having one of it and walked away. Mzima had fun playing with Layoni while Shimba stood on the banks debating whether to go into the water or not. In the evening the keepers were called to rescue an orphan from the Kanderi swamp. Upon arrival at the stockades the youngster was welcomed by the orphans who tried their best to reassure him which helped him to calm down.

21 April 2012

This morning Lesanju’s group came running out of the stockades to greet the new orphan, who has been made Balguda. The group was reluctant to leave the stockades. Ndii chose to remain behind with the new baby and had to be enticed away by a bottle of milk. She became very upset when Balguda was taken to the airstrip to be flown to Nairobi and the keepers had to calm her down before she was taken to join the rest of the group at the mudbath.

22 April 2012

It was a lovely morning as the orphans browsed on the southern side of Mazinga Hill and were in no hurry to leave choosing to forgo their noon milk feed as they remained browsing on the hill until evening when they returned to the stockades for the night and their evening bottle.

23 April 2012

Ndara returned to the stockades today, 10 days after she was treated for her arrow wounds. Her leg is still swollen and as such the vet came to examine her and suggested that we monitor her condition over the next few days. She spent the day feeding on Greiwa branches but left for the park later in the night.

24 April 2012

The orphans spent the morning browsing on the Southern side of Mazinga hill. The keepers were looking for Ndara but were not able to find her and believe that she rejoined Emily’s group. After their noon milk bottle the youngsters spent the afternoon browsing at the Eastern side of the park before Dabassa led them home for the night.

25 April 2012

Tsavo who is part of Emily’s ex-orphan group visited the stockades this morning where he had a drink before being given some copra cake and dairy cubes which he thoroughly enjoyed.

26 April 2012

It was raining as the orphans exited the stockades this morning. They spent the day browsing on the hill above the stockades where they remained until Kenia’s milk dependent group came down in the evening for their milk bottle. Wasessa, Shimba, Lesanju, Sinya, and Mzima continued to browse until 8pm when they returned to the stockades.

27 April 2012

The orphans had a lovely morning playing and scratching against the rocks at the base of Mazinga Hill, before moving further up to browse. As the group headed to the mudbath Rombo, Dabassa and Layoni were scared by a large monitor lizard that they found sunning itself on a rock.

28 April 2012

Ndara returned to the stockades after a 3 day absence. Her front leg was looking worse and she was hardly able to put any weight on it. The keepers put her into the stockade and called Nairobi. Angela instructed that she was to be kept in the stockades until the next day when the vet would be able to come and treat her. While she waited she was given lots of Greiwa branches, dairy cubes and Copra cake which she thoroughly enjoyed.

29 April 2012

Two KWS Vets together with a highly qualified international vet arrived at the stockades just before noon to treat Ndara. Ndara was sedated and her wounds were checked and thoroughly cleaned. Once she was back on her feet she browsed around the stockade before entering it for the night.

30 April 2012

The keepers have seen an improvement in Ndara’s leg following the treatment she received yesterday. The swelling has gone down and the leg is not causing her as much discomfort. The youngsters all greeted her warmly sharing some dairy cubes and copra cake with her before heading out to the park for the day. Ndara will remain in the stockades and under the care of the keepers until such time that her leg is much better.