February was a hot month down at Voi, but with lengthy mud bath sessions the orphans at the Voi Unit didn’t seem effected by it. Fortunately the area is still flush and green with plenty of food. Emily, Aitong and Sweet Sally continue to thrive spending nights and many days completely independent of the younger orphans, fraternizing with wild groups all the time. However their ties to the unit are still strong and they spent significant time this month joining up with the group, either early in the morning greeting them at the stockades, and spending most of the day with them, or joining them at mud bath time at noon. When ever they join the group it is met with great excitement, Ndara, and Tsavo and Loisaba particularly delighted, but when Emily and Aitong and Sally are not part of the group the undisputed mini Matriarch is Natumi. She leads with a wisdom, and caution and sensitivity that is quite remarkable to see. She takes time to pull the higher branches down from trees in order for the younger orphans to be able to browse, when ever there is a shaking branch or something suspicious that is causing alarm she is the first there to inspect the scene. When there are squabbles she gently intervenes and takes charge in order to restore peace. She is obviously absolutely thriving in the role. Moran is turning into an independent little boy, despite being the youngest in the group. He is always one of the first to join a wild herd and fraternizes with wild friends, often followed by Illengwesi. Mpala continues to prefer sparring games, testing his strength against any who dare. Solango is usually up to the task.
This month Uaso appeared on a couple of occasions to join the unit for a while. On the one occasion he peeled off from his wild group, about ten elephant friends, to spend some time with the younger orphans, Mweya, Solango, Seraa, and Mpala. Another time he arrived at the stockades early one morning along with Emily and Aitong and Sweet Sally. On this occasion Uaso mounted Mweiga, who couldn’t sustain his weight and fell to the ground screaming. Immediately Emily and Aitong and the rest of the orphans were there to discipline Uaso and crowd Mweiga reassuring her and shielding her from any further abuse.
The orphans always have fun when coming across antelope while in the bush. They sense they cannot retaliate so become very bold, charging them with huge displays of dust and trumpets. The antelope usually lope off bemused! This month they have had some stand offs with the bold baboons who live on Mazinga hill. The bull baboons tend to get quite threatening with the younger elephants at times, but eventually have to leap to the safety of a tall rock in order to get out of way, as ‘baboon chasing’ is a sport enjoyed by all.