With the Park rapidly drying, the Voi orphans have had a busy time finding browse to fill their bellies so most of their time has been involved in the search of food rather than having fun and games. Fortunately, there is a reserve left within the fenced KWS compound, which the orphans have been enjoying.
The health of the smallest member of the group, Kimana, took a downturn when he appeared with a swollen back leg which inhibited his movement. The swelling moved to the stomach area, so he was given an injectible course of Nuroclav antibiotic and since is much improved, but has lost a lot of condition, not helped because he spends time sucking on Kenia’s ears rather than browsing! Then Ndii appeared with a swelling on her stomach, but this was probably due to an insect bite, because she showed no other signs of being unwell.
Both Keepers and Elephants were scared when they encountered a male lion at close quarters on the 23rd, who paused to take a long look at them before moving off into a bush. Rapidly the Keepers wisely changed direction but this encounter understandably left everyone un-nerved and trembling!
A friendly wild herd has visited the Stockade water trough on 3 different occasions during the month. On the first occasion the orphans took a great interest in the small calf who was with the herd and tried to prevent him going off with his family, having enjoyed playing with him. On the second and third wild visit the orphans were already ensconced for the night in the stockades, but the wild unit spent a lot of time around the Stockades, the wild calf giving the orphans a trunk wave, according to the Keepers!
This month Emily’s unit along with many other wild herds have been on Sagalla Ranch, which abuts the Ngutuni Ranch beyond the Park boundary, and has more browse than the Park itself at the moment. The Keepers motorized patrol has met up with them twice, and tried to drive them back, but on both occasions were seen off by aggressive wild bulls, so there is not much we can do about it until the rains break and the wild elephants choose to return, and with them, Emily’s orphaned group.
It was wonderful for the Keepers to see the little orphaned kudu they hand-reared named Njia, who was in the main Park with a wild group of kudus. Njia is one of three others hand-reared by the Keepers. The other two, Mkuki and Aruba, are also seen regularly in amongst a wild group that frequents the area surrounding the stockades.
The Voi Stockades are having a much needed facelift to smarten them up again, undertaken by a Contractor paid by the Trust. Otherwise, all the Voi Junior Keeper Dependent orphans are happily settled in their new home, and becoming accustomed to coping not only with the heat, but also drought conditions, to which Tsavo is very prone. The forecast for this year’s rains is not promising either, so we can expect tougher times next year, climate change now becoming something very real and very sinister for wildlife in naturally arid areas. However, fortunately nature is resilient but it saddens us that man-made conditions have such a negative impact on others that share our planet home.