Keepers' Diaries, February 2000

Voi Reintegration Unit

Since the Park is still green, there were very few wild elephants in the dry season range of the Voi River and its environs, and hence Malaika's group made contact with wild elephants only on three occasions, on the 7th, again on the 13th when the orphans joined 4 wild elephants and fed together and again on the 25th, when they again met up with 4 wild elephants, two the size of Malaika, l Emily's size and 1 the size of Mweiga.

01 February 2000

On the 1st Emily met up with Malaika's group below the Research Centre and they fed together until 9.30 a.m. when Malaika's group left. After mudbath Imenti chased a herd of impala away and at 6.45 p.m. Malaika returned to the Stockade, lay down writhing as though in, pain. We noticed that she had runny stools with worms. She returned to the Stockade at midnight and left again just before 6 a.m.

02 February 2000

Both groups left together on the 2nd and remained together all day, Malaika's family (Uaso and Lewa) keeping close to Malaika and Edo, and Emily's family near her. At 6.30 p.m. another young elephant was flown in from Loisaba Ranch in Laikipia district. She is 2 years old, (tusks just visible) and has had several inches cutoff the tip of her trunk. She was carried into the side Stockade sedated, and woken up with an injection in the ear. Once up, she was very wild, charging the Keepers constantly, until Emily was taken in to calm her, which she did by laying her trunk across the calf. The new calf immediately calmed down. Malaika was there, and was very eager to have the calf, even refusing her share of Coconut cake. She left the Stockades at 8 p.m.

03 February 2000

On the 3rd Malaika was back in the morning and left with Emily's group. The new calf, (named Loisaba) was left behind in the stockade. She is still very wild, and fearful of people, so Emily and family were returned to the Stockades to comfort her. Aitong went in and the new calf calmed down immediately. We let her out of the Stockade with Aitong and they all fed close by, wallowing at the Stockade waterhole. Loisaba remained very close to Emily. Malaika was not seen today. Emily's group, including Loisaba was taken into the fenced area around the Headquarters. Back at the Stockades in the evening the new calf lost her nerve and ran round the back of the Stockade, bellowing, and Aitong rushed round to retrieve her, escorting her back into the Stockade. Malaika turned up soon afterwards and confronted Emily across the electric wire, wanting to take the calf. They faced each other with outstretched ears.

05 February 2000

5th was uneventful, Emily's group feeding within the Compound fence because of the newcomer and Malaika not seen.

06 February 2000

On the 6th Loisaba pushed Mweiga, and this upset the others very much, who then punished Loisaba in retaliation. Since then Loisaba has taken to feeding alone, choosing to be apart from the others, and usually having to be rounded up to join them for the mudbath and the walk back. On the 6th the orphans met a python at the Spring Gate and Imenti and Mweiga were very fearful, bellowing loudly!

08 February 2000

On the 8th Loisaba and Mweiga spent almost an hour together in the mudwallow. Loisaba is not as fearful now, but refuses to take milk from the Keepers. Malaika was joined by Edo at 4 p.m. and they returned together to the Stockades for Coconut cake. It is very hot in Tsavo now, and Emily's group usually take two mudbaths a day, and stand under shade for an hour or two afterwards. Emily and Imenti play together for long periods each day.

10 February 2000

On the 10th Loisaba spent most of the day close to Imenti but is often found wandering off on her own, and having to be rounded up to join the others.

11 February 2000

On the 11th Malaika and family were down at the Voi river but returned to the Stockade at 7 p.m.

13 February 2000

Malaika and family were down on the Voi river again on the 13th, drinking at the Campsite. On the 13th Loisaba kicked Mweiga causing Emily to challenge her. After that Loisaba went on her own.

15 February 2000

On the 15th Emily and Imenti were very playful together, while Mweiga rolled the drums and Aitong beat up the bushes. Loisaba did not join in.

16 February 2000

No sign of Malaika on the 15th but on the 16th she was seen near the Red Elephant Lodge in the company of some waterbuck and impala.

17 February 2000

The 17th saw Loisaba again very much on her own, apart from the others.

19 February 2000

Malaika was down on the river with the waterbuck and impala on the 17th and was not seen again until the 19th, when we found her drinking at the Campsite.

20 February 2000

On the 20th Imenti and Emily had a very tough game which Emily won, and Imenti yelled in frustration. Malaika watered at the Campsite.

22 February 2000

On the 22nd Loisaba allowed the Keepers to plaster mud on her in the mudbath, but is still choosing to feed apart from the others, and having to be rounded up to join them.

24 February 2000

The 24th saw Malaika at Lion Hill, drinking at Simon's waterhole, and back at the Stockades at 7.30 p.m.

29 February 2000

Malaika was not seen on the 26th and 27th, but was found down at the river on the 28th, but returned to the Stockades at 5.30 a.m. on the 29th, leaving later heading for the East side of the hill, where she spent the day. Emily and her group are still feeding within the Electric Fence, because we are fearful that Loisaba will run away and get lost. She is not yet properly bonded into the group, preferring to be alone for long periods, and obviously very sad.