Dida has long been one such frail member of the Orphans’ Unit. All the females empathize fully with her, obviously aware of her condition, going out of their way to take it in turns to keep her company, and ensure that she is comforted and protected from the playful exuberance of others. However, this month, she has shown some improvement, even able to climb up Mazinga hill at month end which was quite a feat.
Siria, having promoted himself from the Junior Group to Emily’s Ex Orphan Seniors, has divided his time between the two Groups this month, usually meeting up with the Juniors on a daily basis either out in the bush, at the noon mudbath, or at the Stockades first thing in the morning, often opting to remain outside of the Stockades during the night. However, there have been many occasions during the month when he has chosen to join them inside for the night, making him an orphan that is perfectly at home with both Groups.
A wild cow who has been a frequent visitor to the Voi Stockades for water and left over browse, brought her newborn baby along on the 3rd to mingle with the Juniors. Only Siria kept his distance from her, but the others, who know her well, interacted with her and her baby.
Emily’s group have been frequent visitors to the Stockades during the month, accompanied by a wild boy on the 7th, when Ndara and Mvita watched over little “Eve” as she played in the Stockade pool whilst Sweet Sally was otherwise occupied in a Pushing Game with the wild Boy. Lissa and her family also came for a drink that evening, the Keepers noting that her latest wild-born baby (“Luzima”) was “massive” for his age. Emily’s group was back again during the late evening of the next day, Dabassa, Rombo and Layoni raising their trunks in greeting, since the Juniors were already ensconced in their Stockades for the night. A teenaged wild bull elephant joined the Juniors as they browsed Mazinga Hill on the l0th, remaining in amongst them for an hour before peeling off. Siria and Shimba trailed him for a while, tempted to join him, but then decided to return to their Junior peers. That day the mudbath venue was changed to the artificial Middle Waterhole, which has to be filled from the Voi Unit’s Water Bowser, since the Big Waterhole had dried out
Both Emily’s and Edie’s Groups plus two teenaged bulls came to drink at the Stockades at l0.30 a.m. on the 14th, the day an orphaned baby Zebra also came into the care of the Keepers. (Another baby zebra rescued a few days later came in too far gone to save). One of the wild bulls who was with the Ex Orphans was very shy, but the other was obviously quite accustomed to human presence. Both Ex Orphan Groups were back the next evening with their respective wild-born young, the Juniors already inside their Night Stockades. On the 23rd a Splinter Group comprised of Emily, baby Eve, Sweet Sally, Ndara and Mvita met up and spent time with the Juniors as they browsed the Eastern side of Mazinga hill. Emily was definitely taken with Layoni, and suspecting that she might try and take him off, Lempaute rapidly enticed him clear of the Senior would-be Baby Snatchers! Emily and Edie plus their entourage and young were back at the Stockade water trough at 9 a.m. on the 28th, again with the regular wild boy in tow while Solango came alone to the Stockades on the 11th, begging for a handout of Copra which was gladly given to him. It was good to see him again, healed and healthy. This was the day that the Voi Keepers traveled to the Galana Ranch to rescue little “Sonje” who was flown directly to the Nairobi Nursery and the very next day they were again summonsed to Salt Lick Lodge to rescue baby Lumo who, likewise, was flown directly to the Nursery.
It has been a very happy month for the Voi Keeper Dependent Orphans, who have made the most of their noon mudbaths during the hot season, but have had to focus more on filling their stomachs with browse as the vegetation of the area becomes ever more sparse. As usual the young bulls enjoy daily bouts of strength testing, while the females concentrate on their younger “favourites”, Lesanju and Lempaute joint main Matriarchs, with Kenia and Dida focused on caring for Dida. Meanwhile Wasessa has taken Emsaya as her “special baby” usurping the previous privileged status of Tassia who doesn’t seem to mind. He and Taveta are still great rivals, Tassia beginning to give Taveta a run for his money in this respect.