Keepers' Diaries, August 2007

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Voi Reintegration Unit

The dynamics of the Voi group are very interesting of late. A large part of Natumi’s group, Sosian, Loisaba, Laikipia, Nyiro, Icholta and Lolokwe have all joined up with Emily and Aitong’s group, Sweet Sally, Ndara, Tsavo, Illingwezi, who chose not to return this past month. Natumi has been trying in vain to get them back to join her small group which now consists of Mukwaju, Edie and herself. However, despite being unsuccessful there she is making great headway in usurping Thoma’s group who all respect and idolize her so she has concentrated her efforts this month on spending time with the youngsters and seldom a day passed without the three bigger orphans, Natumi, Edie and Mukwaju, joining up with the youngsters.

The dynamics of the Voi group are very interesting of late. A large part of Natumi’s group, Sosian, Loisaba, Laikipia, Nyiro, Icholta and Lolokwe have all joined up with Emily and Aitong’s group, Sweet Sally, Ndara, Tsavo, Illingwezi, who chose not to return this past month. Natumi has been trying in vain to get them back to join her small group which now consists of Mukwaju, Edie and herself. However, despite being unsuccessful there she is making great headway in usurping Thoma’s group who all respect and idolize her so she has concentrated her efforts this month on spending time with the youngsters and seldom a day passed without the three bigger orphans, Natumi, Edie and Mukwaju, joining up with the youngsters.

The great excitement for the Voi orphans this month was the addition of another young orphaned calf, now the youngest in their midst. Her rescue can be read in more detail on the home page of our website, but, Masinga, as she has been named, ended up being rescued by the orphans themselves after a dramatic attempt the previous day had to be aborted when Julius the Keeper nearly got seriously injured when trying the capture her. The following day she was sighted alone on the eastern plains below Masinga hill. Amazingly in the midst of our orphans, with their reassurance, she returned to the stockades the first day, and it was not until she actually reached the stockades that she refused to go any further. At that point she was sedated by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust vet Dr. Ndeereh, and placed in a stockade with Mweiga for company the first night, and alternating with other orphans for the next eight or so days until such time as she was comfortable around the Keepers. Estimated to be three years old Masinga now comes and goes, a member of our youngster group led by Thoma when Natumi is not present, spoilt by all and singled out for very special attention daily. She returns to the stockades, puts herself inside to eat the daily cut Grewia branches and then leaves for the night with the others if they choose to. It is so wonderful to see how happy she is with her new found family, and how attentive the orphans are of her every need.

Mweiga is doing well, given that she is our weakling, and what is remarkable is how the others constantly rotate in their Mweiga duties, and seldom is she left unattended by one or more at all times. The few times she has been left with just the Keepers without an orphan friend close by, they are obviously communicating with her constantly as she rumbles every so often reassuring them she’s ok. Little Serena and Rukinga or Zebra and Kudu orphans are growing up fast and are often companions for Mweiga who has grown to love them both. They too are having encounters with wild Kudu and Zebra from time to time while they walk far a field with their Keepers grazing and browsing.

A few showers of unexpected rain have brought up some green shoots which were welcome, but Tsavo is in the grip of the dry season now, and so the evening Copra cake and cut Grewia comes as a welcome daily extra for the Voi orphans.

August 2007 day to day

01 Aug

The younger group left the stockades early in the morning with enormous energy. Natumi never appeared this morning having spent time with Emily and the other orphans. The younger group went on up Masinga hill, with Thoma, Moran, Seraa, Solango and Mweiga left behind feeding at the foot of the hill. The group kept Mweiga company and it made her feel good having the others around her and as a result not having to tackle the hill. Later the others clambered down the hill, Mpala, Burra and Mweya, and they all headed off to the mudbath together. They had a very active mudbath, with Moran and Seraa enjoyed a wonderful game in a deep trench. Mud flying everywhere with lots of slipping and sliding games. Mpala and Mukwaju along with Thoma and Moran headed off to feed close to the airstrip leaving the others behind, but later they returned and headed back to the stockade in the evening. Mukwaju went to the stockades for some greens but later went feeding on Masinga hill at night with Mpala for company.

Mukwaju

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