There have been ongoing renovations to the Voi stockades and surrounding area which are coming to completion. The orphans visited their newly constructed water hole and trough near a large baobab for the first time this month and they were obviously delighted with their new play area as they splashed and frolicked around in the water and scratched themselves on the trees. Even Ajali, who doesn’t like bathing very much, plunged into this new water hole one day and Kihari completely submerged her whole body in delight. The orphans have also enjoyed eating their morning supplement food from newly built troughs in the stockade compound as well. These supplements have been very important for the dependent orphans and the five Ex Orphans Lempaute, Dabassa, Lesanju, Layoni and Kivuko who stay in the area as well, as this part of Tsavo has not received nearly as much rainfall as others and is drying out at a much faster rate. The orphans have to walk further and try harder to forage for food so these morning supplements of lucerne grass, high in protein, and copra cake which is fatty, are very beneficial. On very hot days they have enjoyed their midday mud bath very much, especially Ndii, Naipoki, Mashariki, Ishaq-B and often Embu is the last to leave the water. One day Araba was so hot he sought shelter behind Kenia’s ear!
The Ex Orphans evidently feel very safe in this environment and each other’s company, as the keepers and orphans came across Dabassa sleeping deeply, diligently watched over by his friend Lempaute. Later on in the month however, it seemed that Lempaute and Kivuko separated themselves from the two boys Dabassa and Layoni, and they visited the orphans and the stockades separately; only time will tell if this is a permanent break or just a temporary arrangement. Nevertheless, the older Ex Orphans enjoy interacting with the dependent orphans and they will always come and greet them, and even play for awhile, if passing by. One day Ex Orphan Dabassa saw that Nelion’s tusks were growing quite large and decided to engage him in a strength testing game to see how big he was really becoming!
Matriarch of the dependent herd Kenia, was not so strict with moving her herd away whenever the Ex Orphans came by this month. Usually she is very worried that they might steal her babies away, but this month she even allowed baby Araba to browse in other company like with Ndii, although she and Araba still remain very much devoted to each other. The orphans still remain wary of Ndoria and do not like it when she follows them closely from behind, worried that she might take up her tail biting antics!
When so many orphans come to us with such dire and traumatic backgrounds having lost their mothers and families, the rescues with a happy ending are always uplifting. We received a report on the 8th of a baby elephant was reported to be stuck in a drying water hole with its desperate family unable to free it from the thick, cakey mud. Our keepers responded immediately and we were able to extract the calf and reunite it with its mother and family.
A baby kudu was also found and brought to the Voi stockades by the Kenya Wildlife Service rangers which was moved to our Tsavo HQ where it can be raised with the other orphan kudus there.