Keepers' Diaries, December 2013

Voi Reintegration Unit

A great tragedy for the Voi Unit was the loss of little Mbololo on the 5th, whose health continued to deteriorate after her collapse last month at the mudbath, despite best efforts to save her. But a happy event for the Voi Keepers was the reappearance of their Ex Orphan kudu named “Aruba” who brought her second wild--born baby girl back to show them a few days later on the 10th.

01 December 2013

Kenia’s group of younger orphans usually come out of their Night Stockades first to take their morning milk feed without competition from the older Elephants who can become pushy over the morning supplements of Lucerne and Dairy cubes. The orphans then enjoyed baboon chasing, which is always a favourite pastime before heading out to browse. The resident troupe of baboons hang around hoping for any leftover supplements and are a source of irritation for both the elephants and their Keepers!

02 December 2013

There has been no improvement in the condition of little Mbololo, Wasessa’s favourite baby. She was first to come and check on poor Mbololo, and remained watching her until it was time to head out to browse. Even then, the condition of little Mbololo haunted her, and she was tempted to turn back on several occasions but turned her attention to Mudanda, who had been her chosen calf prior to the advent of Mbololo. The latest ex Nursery arrivals, Kihari, Naipoki and Ishaq-B separated themselves from Lesanju’s main group and fed apart from the others, reuniting with them for the journey to the waterhole at noon.

03 December 2013

Mbololo’s condition has not improved, and we fear that she is one destined not to make it. Wasessa again came to greet her in the morning, but Mbololo was too weak to respond. The rest of the orphans continued their usual routine for the day while the Keepers went in search of Emily’s Ex Orphan group, since when last seen Laikipia had what looked like a poisoned arrow wound on his leg. Emily’s Ex Orphan herd was spotted in the evening, and Laikipia was successfully immobilized so that his wound could be examined. There was no evidence of an arrow in the wound, which was cleaned and anointed with green clay, before Laikipia was revived having had a long acting antibiotic injection to aid healing.

04 December 2013

Today Lesanju and Lempaute joined Wasessa in monitoring little Mbololo, who is still fighting for her life. All were visibly concerned by her condition, rumbling encouragement and extending their trunks to touch the sick baby. Out in the field Sinya attempted to take Kihari, Ishaq-B and Naipoki away from the main herd to have them to herself, but Lesanju would have none of it. Kivuko led the orphans back in the evening.

05 December 2013

Tragically, we suffered the loss of precious little Mbololo during the early hours of today, who passed away peacefully despite our best efforts to save her. The Keepers removed her body in order not to distress the others. Wasessa came to check on her, but finding her not there, seemed to understand, and simply walked away without searching the compound. Mbirikani who had been very attached to Mudanda once Wasessa focused on Mbololo, found that Wasessa wanted Mudanda back, and kept pushing Mbirikani away whenever she was close to Mudanda. Naipoki led the orphans back in the evening.

06 December 2013

The orphans enjoyed a spirited game of Hide and Seek around the compound before heading out, Mbirikani keeping a safe distance from Wasessa, who had commandeered Mudanda. Naipoki, Kihari and Ishaq-B went to join her to feed apart from the rest, which pleased her. The four rejoined their colleagues on the way to the Big Waterhole at noon overtaking them to be ahead for the milk. Amazingly Mbirikani kept pace with the others, irrespective of her wounded foot which had been almost severed by a cable snare, but which has made a remarkable recovery. At 1 p.m. Emily’s Ex Orphan herd was sited not far from the Juniors. Among them was a wild Boy about the same size as Emily herself. Thoma peeled off from the Ex Orphan herd to come and greet the Youngsters, and when she peeled away, Mzima was tempted to go with her, but changed his mind.

07 December 2013

Emily’s Ex Orphans turned up at the Stockade to partake of the morning supplements, the wild Boy amongst them. Lolokwe enjoyed playing with Panda and later all left together in one large herd, the wild Boy occasionally charging the Keepers who followed behind. Emily took the entire herd a long way North of Mazinga hill, but Lesanju managed to round up all her group save the Ex Nursery youngsters, Naipoki, Ishaq-B and Kihari, who went off with Emily’s Ex Orphan unit. The Keepers had to call on Pilot Nick Trent to locate there whereabouts, who directed the Keepers’ vehicle which was in search of the truants. When found they were about 7 miles from the Stockades, and when the three Nairobi orphans saw the Keepers with their milk bottles, they returned. They were walked back to the Stockades, arriving there at 7 p.m.

08 December 2013

Today a Splinter Group from Emily’s main Ex Orphan herd turned up at the Stockades in the morning, comprised of Sweet Sally, Icholta, Thoma, Mweya and Laikipia acting as their bodyguard. It was surprising that Sweet Sally, who is the main Nanny to both wild-born Eve and Ella, had come to try and entice the Nairobi girls off again. Lesanju, well aware of what had taken place yesterday, immediately left the supplements, managed to round up the three Nairobi orphans, and headed out with them in amongst her group, thereby thwarting the would-be “Snatchers” who were reluctant to leave the supplements! During the day Lesanju was vigilant, on the look-out for Emily’s unit and consolidating her unit to feed together throughout the day.

09 December 2013

Lesanju was happy that the Ex Orphans did not turn up today, so the Juniors enjoyed a day without interruption, Lesanju paying special attention to the Ex Nairobi trio, playing with them around the compound, and assigning Sinya to oversee the others. Later Lesanju lay down in small pools so that the younger elephants could climb on her. At the main waterhole, the weather was not conducive to wallowing, but Mbirikani braved it and splashed water over herself in a cold shower, the fallout of which was avoided by the others, who ran off and instead rolled in a patch of mud in a small depression which was found by Layoni. He felt important surrounded by all the older elephants. Later all browsed their way back in the evening.

10 December 2013

Nowadays Taveta likes to act like a big elephant, refusing to spar with Tassia, who has turned to Dabassa as a Pushing Partner. Mzima lay down hoping to attract others to climb onto him, but no one was interested. As soon as Lesanju had led her unit out, Laikipia, Icholta and Mweya turned up at the Stockades and enjoyed the left over supplements before heading back out. The wound on Laikipia’s leg has almost healed now. Aruba, our Ex Orphan kudu brought back her second wild-born fawn to show the Keepers. It is another little girl, who, along with the firstborn baby was very shy of the human family.

11 December 2013

During the morning compound games, we noticed that Sinya had a soft spot for Ishaq-B, constantly following the Ex Nairobi baby and pushing Kihari and Naipoki away when they wanted to fraternize with their friend. Meanwhile Tassia and Dabassa were so involved in their usual Pushing Bout that they failed to notice the departure of the others and had to run to join up with them in a charging mode. Lempaute returned to welcome them back. A while later Emily’s group appeared, Laikipia bent on pursuing Sweet Sally, which un-nerved Ella and Eve who sheltered amongst the older girls, not pleased to see their Nannie being chased. The Ex Orphans hung around the Stockades for sometime before moving off.

12 December 2013

Emily’s group turned up after Lesanju’s unit had left the compound and were browsing half way up Mazinga hill. Laikipia was still bent on chasing Sweet Sally, even chasing off the Wild Boy in order to pursue her. Eve and Ella were again cowering in the midst of the others, obviously unhappy about the situation concerning Sally.

13 December 2013

Today turned out to be somewhat different in that the orphaned zebra Stallion, (named Lualeni) decided to follow the orphaned elephants on their way out to browse. Kihari, Naipoki and Ishaq-B backed up by Taveta did their best to chase of Lualeni, but he dodged them doggedly, leaving them to resort to a Bush-Bashing display, in which Lualeni also became involved, leaping and bucking ahead of the Bashers! In the end, the Bashers tired and settled down to browse, while Lualeni grazed nearby. After the milk Pick-up had delivered the noon milk feeds, he followed the vehicle back to the Stockades.

14 December 2013

Today, Wasessa was seen nurturing ties with the Nairobi orphans, Kihari, Naipoki and Ishaq-B which was not popular with Sinya, who and also made Taveta and Dabassa jealous. They took to rolling around on the ground to divert Wasessa’s attention from the three girls while Sinya watched her every move. On the way to the waterhole Taveta condescended to a Pushing Match with Dabassa, in which Tassia tried to intervene, but met with considerable resistance from the two Pushers. In the evening Ndii and Kenia jointly led the Juniors back to the stockades.

15 December 2013

Emily’s Ex Orphans turned up at the Stockades after the Juniors had already left. Eve and Ella were being “Nannied” by Thoma and Seraa in the absence of Sweet Sally, who was obviously occupied with the Bulls. Meanwhile Lesanju managed her little herd well, arriving on time at the milk and mudbath venue and leaving ahead of Emily’s group, who followed later. The two groups did not link up.

16 December 2013

The orphans left during a rain shower to browse the Southern side of Mazinga hill. They later came down for their milk at the Stockades, and thoroughly enjoyed wallowing in the small Stockade wallow, Kihari, Naipoki and Ishaq-B as active as mud-fish!

17 December 2013

While the Juniors were involved in their usual Stockade Compound Games, Tassia enjoying a Pushing Game with his new friend Dabassa, with Kivuko an interested spectator who intervened on the side of Dabassa when Tassia looked like getting the upper hand! Emily’s Ex Orphans then turned up so the focus shifted to them. Sinya engaged Emily’s calf Eve in a serious Pushing Match with Lesanju and other Juniors coming to help Sinya overpower Eve. This brought Nannies Thoma and Seraa immediately to the rescue of Eve, while Morani did his best to try and mount Edie. Emily then rounded up her unit, and headed off in the opposite direction to that chosen by Lesanju and her unit.

18 December 2013

Following the death of Mbololo, Wasessa is in a quandary as to whether to take Ishaq-B or Mudanda back as her chosen favourite, which resulted in a fight between Ishaq-B and Mudanda, each obviously eager to be the chosen one. At the waterhole Kenia, Ndii and Taveta formed a small bathing team watched by all the others. The bathers thoroughly enjoyed having the pool to themselves, and had to run to catch up with the others who were browsing some way off.

19 December 2013

Panda sneaked away from the main herd as they were browsing in order to be first at the milk venue when the truck arrived, downing her share ahead of the others, and then trying to fool the Keepers into giving her another when the others arrived about l0 minutes later! After splashing water over themselves, the orphans browsed for the rest of the day.

20 December 2013

Emily’s group arrived early in the morning to share the morning supplements after which Thoma did her best to hijack Panda and Mudanda which didn’t go down well with Lesanju who moved in between to block her. The two babies also were not keen on being taken, so Lesanju rounded up her unit, and headed out leaving the Ex Orphans at the Stockades. Thoma and Seraa following Lesanju’s unit for a while, but eventually turned back to look after Eve and Ella. Lualeni, the Zebra again followed Lesanju’s group into the bush, and has become a frequent attendant who is now welcomed as part of the family.

21 December 2013

The orphans enjoyed chasing Lualeni the zebra around the Stockades today as part of the usual Compound Games. Lualeni then headed out to the field, keeping well ahead of the elephants who had difficulty in keeping up with him! When the orphans arrived in the main Park to browse, another Lualeni chasing game began involving Kivuko, Ndii, Kenia, Dabassa, Ishaq-B, Naipoki and Kihari, the elephants soon having to give up since Lualeni out-ran them all. They then all settled down to feed side by side! The elephants are beginning to enjoy Lualeni who gives them a lot of fun in chasing games. During the mudbath Lualeni stood on the opposite bank, watching. Later Tassia selected Layoni as a special friend to browse alongside him away from the others, joining up with them on the way back home in the evening.

22 December 2013

Seraa again turned up at the Stockades, leading a Splinter Group from Emily’s main Ex Orphan unit. Again, she did her best to lure away Naipoki and Ishaq-B but Lesanju countered that by moving her unit off, Seraa following them for about an hour before peeling away to seek out Emily’s Unit again. Emily’s herd was sited later at the foot of Mazinga hill as though searching for Lesanju’s group who were high up the hill. With Emily’s Ex Orphans were Laikipia and Siria. Lesanju’s group came down the hill at noon, Emily’s group having passed by the waterhole ahead of them before heading towards the Voi River.

23 December 2013

Today the orphans browsed around the Stockades, and enjoyed the Stockade wallow at noon. Mbirikani and Naipoki enjoyed a spectacular wallow which tempted Mudanda to join them, but she was prevented from doing so by Wasessa.

24 December 2013

Since the small orphans came out of their Night Stockades ahead of the older elephants, Mbirikani had time to fraternize with Mudanda before Wasessa turned up in a rush, almost knocking down poor Mbirikani who has been having a hard time from Wasessa of late due to her affection for Mudanda.

25 December 2013

Christmas Day and a peaceful and happy time was had by the Orphans, Tassia and Dabassa enjoying a Pushing Match, in which Rombo would have liked to join, but was refused access. Kenia and Ndii led the orphans out to browse. All enjoyed a brief splash at the waterhole, but it was too cool to wallow, so they continued browsing until Kihari led the group back to the Stockades in the evening.

26 December 2013

Emily’s group, amongst whom was Irima who had been missing for several months, turned up at the Stockades early to enjoy the morning supplements. Ex Orphan Tsavo did his best to coerce Kivuko into a Pushing Match, but she was suspicious of his motive and kept running away! Sinya was anxious to engage Emily’s baby Eve, but Nannie (Ex Orphan Thoma) would not allow her to become engaged, guarding Eve closely until Lesanju led her group out to browse, leaving the Ex Orphans at the Stockades, and Thoma still guarding Eve.

27 December 2013

Laikipia turned up alone today at the Stockades without the rest of his Ex Orphan Unit, so the orphans enjoyed having him, all eager to investigate him with their trunks, including Kihari and Ishaq-B, before he left the compound. The Juniors enjoyed a quiet browsing day, with a lot of fun in the mudbath at noon. Naipoki led them back in the evening.

28 December 2013

Lesanju paid a great deal of attention to Mudanda today, which went on even once the Orphans were out browsing and was not popular with Wasessa who vented her frustration on the younger members, shoving them around. Tassia engaged Layoni in a test of strength, but was unable to out-do him.

29 December 2013

The day began with the usual baboon chasing before the Orphans left the compound. All browsed quietly throughout the morning, and enjoyed sliding down the slopes of the pile of red soil near the mudbath venue, Kenia, Ndii, Sinya and Mzima putting on a spectacular performance. Panda decided to bathe in a nearby small waterhole after which all browsed until time to return.

30 December 2013

Little Mudanda wanted to join Ndii who was scratching her body against some rocks in the morning, but was blocked by Wasessa. After Lesanju’s group had left the compound, the Ex Orphans turned up to enjoy the supplements that were left. The two groups never met today.

31 December 2013

Today Lesanju’s group browsed the western side of Mazinga Hill. After the had left the compound Emily’s Ex Orphans turned up with 2 Big Bulls in tow who were bent on mating with Sweet Sally. They separated her from the other orphans and chased her deep into the Park. Kihari led Lesanju’s group back in the evening.