Keepers' Diaries, February 2011

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Voi Reintegration Unit

Very encouraging news from the Voi Rehabilitation Centre is that Solango, who returned last month dragging a damaged back leg on which he was unable to put any weight at all, was taken back into his old Enclosure where he has been looked after ever since. Every day he has enjoyed the company of the Keeper Dependent Junior orphans who are based at the Voi Stockades, befriending Siria in particular, and towards the end of the month playing head butting games with Siria and even trying to mount him which entailed putting weight on the injured limb for the first time. He can now move around his enclosure and has put on condition.

Very encouraging news from the Voi Rehabilitation Centre is that Solango, who returned last month dragging a damaged back leg on which he was unable to put any weight at all, was taken back into his old Enclosure where he has been looked after ever since. Every day he has enjoyed the company of the Keeper Dependent Junior orphans who are based at the Voi Stockades, befriending Siria in particular, and towards the end of the month playing head butting games with Siria and even trying to mount him which entailed putting weight on the injured limb for the first time. He can now move around his enclosure and has put on condition.

Emily’s unit has visited him on two occasions during the month, Laikipia and Lolokwe immediately rushing in to greet him enthusiastically. Missing from Emily’s group were Edie and her calf, Ndara, Thoma, Nyiro, Vita, and Sosian. But, it has been the daily contact with the 12 Keeper Dependent “Juniors” that has brightened Solango’s long convalescence and to which he eagerly looks forward to each and every day. Details of the nature of the injury to his leg has not been able to be established by the Vets, whether a fracture, a break, or merely ligament damage. However, the important thing is that he is recovering, only given homeopathic healing remedies, and we are confident of a full recovery in the fullness of time. How fortunate is Solango to have a loving human family on whom he can fall back when needed, because he would definitely not have been able to survive on three legs during a serious drought without help.

A very heavy downpour of unseasonal rain fell during the night of the l7th (over 100 mls.) which came as a welcome relief to what has been a very challenging and serious drought in Southern Tsavo East, the last October/November/December rains having failed completely in that part of the country. This rainstorm filled the big waterhole in which the Keeper Dependent orphans have been having a lot of fun, Siria a rascal who thoroughly enjoys going into the deep and almost drowning poor Mzima on one occasion. Siria is a very outgoing and boisterous little boy who enjoys head butting and wrestling with the other boys, Shimba, Taveta and Tassia even sometimes taking on Wasessa, who is a force to be reckoned with. This month Tassia and Taveta have been involved in rivalry that has led to battles, when Wasessa intervenes to restore order, ensuring that her favourite, Tassia, does not come off second best! Lesanju, the main Matriarch is very close to Lempaute, while Sinya, Ndii and Kenia pay special attention to Dida, who is undersized for her age, and not growing as she should. She has always been a somewhat frail member of the Orphaned herd with a distended belly indicative of possible water retention like the Nursery elephant Kudup, so we fear that she may not make old bones. However, so far she is contented, happy and free from pain, and is nurtured by all the other members of her group, as well as her Keepers. We simply have to hope and pray that she will out-grow whatever ails her at the moment.

Following that one-off huge rainstorm, the Voi orphans have had a very happy second half of the month, their daily interaction with poor Solango a Godsend for him as he recuperates.

Two of the orphaned kudus hand-reared by the Voi Keepers (Mkuki and Aruba) approached the Stockades for a visit to their human family members on the 12th, but took fright when they spotted the two orphaned ostriches who are currently also orphans that are in the process of being reared by the Keepers. Sadly, Mkuki sounded a loud alarm and took off at speed, followed by Aruba. However, the orphaned ostriches provide good chasing sport for the elephants because they obligingly run away, but can out-maneuver their pursuers when needed!

February 2011 day to day

01 Feb

The orphans browsed on the Eastern foot of Mazinga Hill today, making their way slowly to the waterhole by noon. Here they splashed water over their bodies, but resumed browsing almost immediately, impervious even to a herd of impalas who were also feeding nearby. Lesanju and Lempaute led the group back to the Stockades in the evening.

Lempaute leaving the mudbath

The orphans enjoying a mudbath

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