Keepers' Diaries, February 2010

Voi Reintegration Unit

A very exciting and heartwarming event in the February Voi Unit’s Diary has been the reappearance of Burra who returned to the Voi Stockades with Emily and Edie’s combined entourage on the 13th, not having been back to the Stockades since Mweiga suddenly dropped dead on the 22nd December 2007. He was last seen with Natumi’s now wild Splinter Group over a year ago, who have been spending a lot of time beyond the boundaries of the Park on neighbouring ranchlands. Having been absent from Emily’s unit for such a long time, understandably it was evident that Burra was somewhat reticent about the very close attention he was receiving from his old friends, Seraa and Thoma whom he had not seen for so long, and had obviously grown up a lot in the interim. Burra will be l0 years old in May, having come into the Nursery as an 8 month old victim of horrendous snaring which almost severed one ear into two separate halves and nearly strangled him. Because of these now healed benchmarks, he will always be very recognizable. His reappearance amongst the ex orphans led by Emily and Edie proved sufficient distraction for Sweet Sally to gently nudge Emily’s baby “Eve” from her mother and shepherd her to the stockade trough for a drink, perhaps knowing that Burra would be curious about the little one’s identity.

01 February 2010

Having taken their morning milk ration, the orphans moved to the Northern side of Mazinga hill to feed, Wasessa keeping her favourite “baby”, Tassia, close while Lempaute fed alongside Lesanju. The Keepers divided the group into two and took them for their noon milk feed, after which Mzima led the way to the waterhole where they bathed and plastered themselves in red earth, instantly becoming synonymous with the “red” elephants of Tsavo. Sinya led the orphans back to the Stockades in the evening. Emily and her entourage turned up at the Stockades a little later, and hung around for some time before heading out again.

02 February 2010

The orphans enjoyed Stockade compound games ahead of heading out to feed. However, Shimba wasted no time in games, but instead hurried out stuffing trunkfulls of green grass in his mouth, but the others soon caught up with him. They browsed their way slowly to the Eastern side of the hill, reaching the mudbath venue a little earlier than usual, since it was a hot day. At the mudbath they all had a lot of fun, before returning to the important business of feeding prior to returning to the Stockades in the evening.

03 February 2010

On a cool day Lesanju led the orphans out in the morning. They wallowed only briefly, because of the weather, but enjoyed a soil dusting instead. Shira led the group back to the Stockades in the evening.

04 February 2010

The orphans enjoyed active games around the Stockade this morning, before heading out to feed in single file. Kenia and Shira led the group to the mudbath venue, and after their noon milk ration, all enjoyed fun in the waterhole, Siria opting to bathe apart from the others on the edge, where he was joined by Shira. He then went to interrupt the others, who were in the middle, mounting onto the back of Lempaute, which prompted an exit by all. All returned to the Stockade in the evening with full bellies and in a happy mood.

05 February 2010

Lesanju led the orphans out this morning, Sinya immediately behind her attempting to hold her back and replace her lead. They reached the waterhole early since the day turned very hot. Mzima and Siria went into the pool twice before the afternoon browsing session and the return to the Stockades in the evening.

06 February 2010

The orphans left the Stockades amidst a rain shower this morning and began feeding on the Eastern side of Mazinga hill, enjoying rolling in the softened earth, and prizing loose soil from the ground with their small tusks. Lesanju led the group to the milk venue and waterhole, where they bathed briefly before resuming feeding. The two groups of ex orphans, led by Emily and Edie were united when they appeared at the Stockades after the Youngsters were ensconced for the night. Icholta moved to the Stockade Gate to greet the Youngsters, her greeting returned enthusiastically by Taveta and Lempaute. Meanwhile Sweet Sally was busy encouraging Emily’s baby, Eve, to suckle her tiny teats and Nyiro and Morani engaged one another in a pushing. They later ran to join the others who were moving off towards the western side of Mazinga Hill.

07 February 2010

On a cool morning, the orphans left heading for the Eastern side of the hill. Lesanju and Lempaute enjoyed scratching their bodies against a large rock, whilst Siria chased Mzima around the rocks, eager for a wrestling match. However, Mzima was having none of it, and managed to out-maneuver his pursuer! Since it was a cool day, none of the orphans was tempted to bathe, but instead just took their milk, and returned to feed until it was time to return in the evening.

08 February 2010

This morning the orphans enjoyed pulling leaves off the Acacias growing on the northern part of Mazinga hill. Lempaute enjoyed sipping small pools of rainwater in between the rocks before Wasessa led the group down the hill and to the waterhole for their milk. There was a large herd of wild elephants already in the waterhole and Wasessa and Siria immediately joined them, testing their strength against wild age-mates in the pool, while Lesanju and Shira focused their attention on a wild calf. Lempaute remained apart, taking refuge under trees. After some time the orphans left their wild friends and gradually browsed their way back to the Stockades for the night.

09 February 2010

Siria led the orphans out today. All came down to the waterhole for their milk and bathing at noon, Mzima opting for the edge of the waterhole where he was joined by his friend, Shimba. Meanwhile the others were having fun in deeper water. Having had their fill of bathing, the orphans rested under the shade of a large acacia tree, since it was a hot afternoon. They only resumed feeding at 3 p.m.

10 February 2010

The orphans enjoyed their morning milk feed, followed by Copra cake, and then took water from the Stockade trough. Sinya mischievously sprayed cold water from her trunk at the others, who dashed off heading to the field for the morning browsing session. Mzima led them to the waterhole at noon where Siria attempted to mount onto Tassia, but was rapidly warned off by Wasessa. Lempaute and Shimba submerged their heads in the water, just their trunks protruding like periscopes. Later, they enjoyed scratching themselves against the trees, before returning to feed again for the afternoon.

11 February 2010

Siria led the orphans out today, but was overtaken by Shimba and Lesanju who left the others to climb higher up the hill reaching almost the top. These two then joined up with the others midway down to go to the noon milk and mudbath. At the mudbath they encountered a large wild bull who was drinking there, and whom they greeted briefly before taking a drink from the water barrels, during which time the wild bull left. The orphans then occupied the waterhole and later searched for their wild friend, but he had long gone. The orphans then fed around the waterhole for the remainder of the day before returning in the evening.

12 February 2010

The orphans headed up the hill again, having taken their morning milk and water. There they enjoyed feeding on the acacia leaves, but Shimba was the lone ranger who opted to feed in another direction, and became separated completely. As soon as he realized this, he bellowed loudly, so the Keepers ran to reunite him with his peers. They took milk and water at the Stockades at noon, and returned to the hill for the afternoon feeding session before returning for the night.

13 February 2010

Taveta was eager to investigate a dung beetle he had seen burrowing into an elephant dung ball. He prized open the dung ball using his trunk, when the dung beetle latched onto his trunk, causing him to panic and bellow for help. All the other elephants rushed to establish the cause of his problem, by which time the dung-beetle had become dislodged. Emily and Edie and their entourage came to the Stockades in the evening, and with them was Burra, who had been absent for almost a year and had been last seen with Natumi’s splinter group. Natumi herself along with Mukwaju, Aitong, Illingwezi and Tsavo were not with him. Burra had been apart from the other ex orphans so long that he appeared somewhat shy of his old friends, Seraa and Thoma, who were making a fuss of him. Meanwhile, Sweet Sally gently pushed little Eve away from her mother, Emily, and succeeded in this mission, escorting the baby to the Stockade water trough. All the ex orphans enjoyed a hand-out of Copra cake, and left the Stockade together at 7.20 p.m.

14 February 2010

The Stockade dependent orphans moved in single file to the browsing area this morning. Once there, Sinya attempted to take Tassia away from Wasessa but Tassia pressed himself against Wasessa denying Sinya acquisition. Since it was cool, they all refused a swim today, but instead browsed their way slowly back to the Stockades in the evening.

15 February 2010

Kenia, Taveta and Tassia were De-Wormed yesterday, and showed no adverse signs except evidence of a lot of worms in their dung. Having fed for the better part of the day, they played, pushing and chasing each other around with Siria and Mzima engaging one another in a wrestling match. They decided against a mudbath today, fed throughout the afternoon, and returned in the evening.

16 February 2010

The orphans decided to browse not far from the waterhole today, even though Lesanju at first began to head towards the northern side of the hill. It was a hot day, so they enjoyed fun in the pool. Taveta led the group back to the Stockades in the evening.

17 February 2010

The orphans spread out in the Park to feed today, but came together as a group when a warthog with some piglets ran past and scared them. After fun in the waterhole at noon, and the afternoon browsing session, Lempaute led the group back to the Stockades in the evening.

18 February 2010

Lempaute and Mzima attempted to entice the others to hang back for the usual Stockade games, but they were having none of it, and headed straight out into the main Park to feed. They browsed eagerly throughout the day, since it was too cold for the waterhole.

19 February 2010

On their way out into the main Park, the orphans enjoyed scratching their bodies against the walls of a deep erosion gulley below the Park HQ. They browsed their way to the waterhole where Shira was the star swimmer displaying her prowess in the middle of the pool. After a soil dusting session, they browsed their way back to the Stockades in the evening, Taveta taking the lead.

20 February 2010

After taking their milk and a drink of water at the Stockades, the orphans headed for the northern side of Mazinga hill. At the noon milk time, the Keepers split the group into two to limit competition for the milk. Noticing that Wasessa was not with his group, Tassia instantly turned back to find her, and came with her and the second group to take his milk. All enjoyed a swim at noon in the middle of the waterhole, after which they returned to browse for the remainder of the day before returning in the evening.

21 February 2010

The orphans fed happily throughout the morning, and enjoyed a very active time at the waterhole after which Siria found a tree stump against which to scratch his body. Mzima tactfully managed to remove him by enticing him to a wrestling match, after which he enjoyed a scratch against the same stump. Both then had to catch up with the others who were already browsing some distance away en route back to the Stockade.

22 February 2010

The orphans enjoyed Stockade games today before browsing on the hill opposite the Park HQ. It was a cool day, so they only came down for their milk at 3 p.m. after which they fed at the base of the hill for the remainder of the day.

23 February 2010

Lesanju led the group to the western side of the hill on a sunny morning. At noon Shimba raced ahead of all the others to get to the waterhole for his share of milk, surprising everyone that he could run so fast! Having taken their milk, all then had a great deal of fun playing in the pool, Wasessa taking care of Tassia and Kenia guarding Taveta. Later they fed at the base of Mazinga hill for the rest of the day.

24 February 2010

The orphans indulged in dusting themselves before heading out. Tassia found himself way behind the others, so he bellowed and this brought Wasessa back at the double. Thereafter, for the rest of the day, she kept a close watch over him. They all took their milk at the waterhole, but didn’t bathe, instead resuming feeding until it was time to return when Shira led them back home.

25 February 2010

This morning, having finished her own milk, Shira attempted to hijack Kenia’s share but Kenia stood firm, blocking her with her buttocks helped by the Keepers. Kenia resented Shira’s attempt and having finished her milk, took Shira head-on. The Keepers had to intervene to stop the fight, after which the two combatants ran to catch up with the rest of the herd who were already on their way out and up the hill. They returned to the Stockades for their milk at noon and after a drink of water from the Stockade trough, returned to the hill to browse for the rest of the afternoon.

26 February 2010

The orphans went up the hill to feed today, where they enjoyed scratching themselves against the rocks. Lesanju started the race to the waterhole for the noon milk feed, all the others following swiftly. Having gulped down their milk, they all plunged into the waterhole where they had a wonderful time playing rolling games. Later Kenia and Taveta enjoyed a good scratch against the waterhole walls before resuming the serious business of feeding for the rest of the afternoon.

27 February 2010

Today the orphans scattered as they browsed on the hill above the Park HQ Office, Wasessa and Tassia inseparable as usual. The others rumbled from time to time to establish each other’s whereabouts until assembling together to come down to the Stockades for their milk and a drink of water. They later returned to the Southern part of the hill to feed for the rest of the afternoon before returning in the evening.

28 February 2010

There was a heavy rainstorm early this morning as the orphans were let out of their Night Stockades. They had a wonderful time rolling around in the mud within the compound and drinking from the fresh puddles before heading out to Mazinga Hill to feed. They returned to the Stockade for their milk at noon, and then fed around the base of the hill until Lesanju led them back to the Stockades for the night.