Keepers' Diaries, February 2001

Select your unit:

Voi Reintegration Unit

The three Nairobi orphans, Kinna Mukwaju and Yatta, are now perfectly settled into the Tsavo orphans, comfortable with elephants of all sizes, and getting used to fraternising with the wild herds. Edo and Lewa returned from a long stretch away with the wild herds, as did Dika and Ndume, with Lissa and her calf (plus her herd) appearing once. Natumi and Yatta have formed a strong bond of friendship, and Salama and Laikipia likewise. Imenti still enjoys "the Uncle role" and enjoys being with the Baby Group rather than the Big Boys, although he spends time with Edo and Lewa. Emily is very fond of "Tsavo" who is very much part of the family now, and it is interesting that when he followed a wild herd, Emily left her family to follow that herd and retrieve Tsavo, bringing him back one hour later. Since then both she and Aitong keep a careful watch over him whenever they interact with wild elephants.

The three Nairobi orphans, Kinna Mukwaju and Yatta, are now perfectly settled into the Tsavo orphans, comfortable with elephants of all sizes, and getting used to fraternising with the wild herds. Edo and Lewa returned from a long stretch away with the wild herds, as did Dika and Ndume, with Lissa and her calf (plus her herd) appearing once. Natumi and Yatta have formed a strong bond of friendship, and Salama and Laikipia likewise. Imenti still enjoys "the Uncle role" and enjoys being with the Baby Group rather than the Big Boys, although he spends time with Edo and Lewa. Emily is very fond of "Tsavo" who is very much part of the family now, and it is interesting that when he followed a wild herd, Emily left her family to follow that herd and retrieve Tsavo, bringing him back one hour later. Since then both she and Aitong keep a careful watch over him whenever they interact with wild elephants.

The Nairobi Nursery:-

At the beginning of the month, a very young calf was rescued, having been reported by tribesmen who had found the baby wandering alone, and had it in their "manyatta". They fed it cows' milk and water. Colin and Rocky Francombe drove to the Manyatta and brought the calf to Ol Mallu airstrip, from whence it was airlifted to us. It was reported to be a bull, but was, in fact, a female aged about 2 - 3 weeks. We named the baby Mallu and for the next 10 days she seemed to thrive, but then took a turn for the worse. She died on the 11th February. The postmortem revealed one lung completely destroyed, probably due to water having gone into it whilst being fed from a bucket in the manyatta. This left us with little Charles Sagana, Nasalot and Mulika.

Meanwhile little Charles Sagana began to cut his first molars, something that is invariably coupled with fevers and diarrhoea. Despite administering a Sulphonomide orally as well as anti-biotic injections, he died on the 7th March. The postmorterm revealed bacterial infection of the liver and bowel. We were completely devastated by this second tragedy, and especially losing such a high profile little calf - the first ever elephant to be rescued by a Kikuyu farmer from the Mount Kenya area.

During all this drama, we were fighting for a little Uganda elephant who had wandered into a fishing village near Lake George in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and who was being cared for by two German ladies and two Rangers, with telephonic advice from us in Nairobi. Obtaining all the permissions and CITES permits for an elephant to cross a territorial boundary took a whole month, and was anything but easy, but finally little "Mweya" (a tiny female calf named by the Ugandans) arrived by Helicopter on the 27th February 2001, and but for an infection in both eyes, was otherwise in remarkably good condition, an accolade for those who cared for her night and day in Uganda. With Charles Sagana now gone, we are in a quandary about the future of this calf, because it is urgent that Nasalot and Mulika join the Tsavo orphans after the next rains, probably in May, both being now just over a year old, and in need of older elephant tuition and good browse. However, we will cross that hurdle when we come to it, because a lot can happen between now and then!

February 2001 day to day

01 Feb

All the orphans left the Stockades together in the morning. The three Nairobi babies who were moved to Tsavo East last month are now very comfortable with all the other elephants. They all enjoyed a "wonderful" mudbath together, when Aitong kept careful watch over the youngsters, helping any that had difficulty in getting up. Whenever Emily wanders away, Aitong enjoys taking charge of "Tsavo", Emily's current "favourite", who even suckles her. At 3.30 p.m. Emily and Imenti had their usual game, before taking another mudwallow due to the heat.
Select your unit:
View keepers’ diaries for another month?