Keepers' Diaries, February 2012

Voi Reintegration Unit

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.

01 February 2012

The morning began on a high note as the orphans drank their morning bottle of milk then engaged each other in strength testing games before heading off in single file for the browsing fields. At the mudbath Dida stayed glued to Lesanju who watched over her as she had a mudbath. Tassia Rombo and Taveta all enjoyed playing in the mudwallow. Ndii led the way home in the evening.

02 February 2012

Mkuki and Aruba visited the stockades today in the company of a wild friend. Aruba was without her baby whom she had hidden in a thicket while she browsed around. A wild elephant that frequented the stockade a few months ago has given birth and today brought her calf with her for a drink of water this morning just as the orphans were leaving. Siria stayed behind to greet the wild cow before rejoining his group.

03 February 2012

Siria, who has detached himself from Emily’s group, led the orphans up Mazinga hill to browse for the day. Lempaute and Dida browsed together before the group headed to the waterhole for the noon mudbath. Siria did not join them choosing instead to continue browsing.

04 February 2012

Siria arrived at the stockade this morning just as the orphans were exiting their stockade. They all exchanged pleasantries before heading out. As it was a very hot day the orphans all enjoyed cooling off in the water before having a dustbath where Ndii was picking up tips from Lesanju while Wasessa kept a close eye on Emsaya. Siria spent the day with the orphans but chose not to return to the stockades in the evening.

05 February 2012

Following morning games at the stockade Lesanju led the orphans out to browse before heading to the noon mudbath where Siria joined the group. Dabassa and Tassia both greeted Siria while Mzima tried to engage him in a game but Siria was not at all interested.

06 February 2012

As it was a cold day the orphans did not go into the mudbath choosing instead to splash themselves with water. Layoni, Kivuko and Emsaya enjoyed a tree scratching game while Taveta and Tassia engaged in strength testing games where Taveta used his tusks to pin down Tassia. Rombo had the honour of leading the orphans home in the evening.

07 February 2012

This morning, soon after the orphans had left, Emily’s group came to the stockade with a wild friend. They had a drink, fed on copra cake and scratched against the rocks. Sweet Sally engaged the boys in pushing games while Ndara and Vita took care of Eve who was having fun blowing bubbles in the water trough. Lissa’s group, with several wild elephants, also visited the stockades for a drink. Her calf is doing well and has grown.

08 February 2012

After the youngsters had entered their nightly quarters, Emily’s group arrived at the stockades. Dabassa, Rombo and Layoni lifted their trunks in greeting. Emily and Edie’s group left, half an hour later having had some copra cake.

09 February 2012

The orphans browsed their way from the Western side of Mazinga hill to the Northern side reaching the mudwallow at noon where they enjoyed a mudbath. Siria joined them and spent some time with Dabassa before they all headed to the stockades for the night.

10 February 2012

A teenage bull joined the orphans for a browsing session this morning before heading in the direction of the Voi River. Siria and Shimba followed him but were quick to rejoin their group. The orphans had a lovely mudbathing session today which consisted of wallowing as well as scratching and sitting on the banks of the mudbath.

11 February 2012

Solgano came to the stockades this morning after the youngsters had left and was given some copra cake by the keepers before leaving to rejoin Emily’s group. The Voi keepers were involved today in the rescue of an orphaned calf at Sonje in Galana ranch. The calf, which was named “Sonje” was airlifted to Nairobi later the same day.

12 February 2012

Another rescue today for the Voi keepers this time from Salt lick Lodge. The tiny calf which was on its own was in a waterpool frequented by wild elephants coming for a drink. It did not join any of the wild herds, nor was it led out of the water by any of the older elephants which prompted the Lodge’s staff to rescue it. The calf was air lifted to Nairobi later in the day.

13 February 2012

The orphans had a fantastic time at the mudbath today when they enjoyed charging in and out of the water before settling in to wallow. Taveta and Kenia had fun scratching against the walls of the mudbath.

14 February 2012

Emily and Edie’s group together with two wild teenage bulls came to the stockade at 10:30. The group had a drink of water before heading back to the park. An orphan baby zebra about two months old was rescued from Lualeni ranch and brought to the stockade by KWS rangers.

15 February 2012

The orphans, who were being filmed by a German film crew, enjoyed playing at the stockade compound before heading to the Southern side of Mazinga hill to browse. They returned to the stockade for their noon milk feed and mudwallow where they enjoyed the attention of some school children. Emily and Edie’s group visited the stockades in the evening and had a drink before heading back to the park.

16 February 2012

School children from the Trust’s community outreach program once again visited the orphans at the stockades at noon. Tassia showed off by grabbing his bottle and feeding himself, which surprised and excited the pupils who were watching the orphans. Lempaute fed close to Dida today keeping her away from the more rambunctious members of the group.

17 February 2012

A second orphaned zebra was rescued from Lualeni ranch today, this one younger than the first. The young foal was dull and dehydrated a sure sign that it had been without its mother for some time.

18 February 2012

Today Lempuate and Taveta engaged each other in a bathing competition at the mudbath with each one trying to outdo the other as they displayed their wallowing skills while the rest of the orphans watched. The afternoon was spent browsing.

19 February 2012

Wasessa, Emsaya, Dabassa and Kivuko browsed behind Malaika house while they waited for the keepers and the rest of the orphans to head out for the day. Once out in the field Mzima tried to engage Shimba in a pushing game but he was more interested in feeding and ignored her. At the mudbath Rombo, Taveta and Tassia had a great time diving into the water watched by the rest of the group who were mellower. Sadly the orphaned zebra rescued on the 17th died today.

20 February 2012

Shimba and Mzima, were left browsing on Mazinga hill as the rest of the orphans headed to the mudbath and arrived 10 minutes after the rest of the group. Wasessa was rather exuberant today and kept chasing all the others, bar Emsaya, out of the mudbath. Once Wasessa had left the water Taveta went in for a wallow before joining Tassia for a tree scratching session.

21 February 2012

The orphans spent the morning browsing on the northern side of Mazinga Hill before heading to the mudbath where Taveta, Rombo, Layoni and Dabassa bathed together before Tassia disrupted them. Kivuko and Layoni were the last to leave the water and had to run to catch up with the rest of the group.

22 February 2012

Taveta was the star of the mudbath today and his bathing antics were noticed by Dabassa, Rombo and Layoni who watched him for a while before joining him. The afternoon was spent browsing before returning to the stockades for the night.

23 February 2012

Emily, Sweet Sally, Ndara and Vita joined the youngsters for a browsing session this morning. Sweet Sally prevented the youngsters from playing with Eve by blocking their every attempt to get close to her. The two groups separated when the youngsters went to the mudbath for their milk feed.

24 February 2012

The orphans were joined by Emily, Sweet Sally, Ndara and Vita while browsing this afternoon. Sweet Sally greeted all the youngsters while Emily took a particular interest in Layoni but was prevented by doing anything by Lempaute who stood guard and made sure that Layoni returned to the stockade in the evening with the rest of her group.

25 February 2012

At the noon mudbath Taveta was lying in the water and Ndii took the opportunity to sit on his stomach making Taveta uncomfortable. Taveta managed to extract himself and chose a different spot for his mudbath.

26 February 2012

The orphans spent the morning browsing on the Southern side of Mazinga hill before returning to the stockade at noon for their milk feed and a mudbath. Mzima and Lempaute went to scratch against the rocks before the group headed back out for an afternoon feeding session.

27 February 2012

The orphans were blessed with a light rain shower this morning. By the afternoon the clouds had cleared and the sun was shining so the orphans enjoyed a cooling mudbath before continuing their browsing activities.

28 February 2012

Emily and Edie’s group came to the stockades this morning together with a wild friend. They had a drink from the water trough and enjoyed some copra cake before they left headed towards the Voi River.

29 February 2012

It was a beautiful morning as Shimba led the orphans up the northern side of Mazinga hill. Dida was able to keep up with group and had no difficulty following them up the hill. At noon Tassia had a lovely dustbath before rejoining the others who were heading back out for the rest of the day. Ndii led the way home this evening.