Keepers' Diaries, February 2016

Voi Reintegration Unit

The Voi dynamics have been very interesting this past month, with Emily’s herd commandeering some of Lesanju’s partially independent group leaving Lesanju with her core Ex Nursery friends which include Lempaute, Sinya, Taveta and Kivuko. As a result of Lesanju loosing many of her charges to Emily’s older Ex Orphan herd, Lesanju has been spending protracted time with the dependent babies, to avoid Emily’s herd in an effort to retain the remaining orphans as her own. Wasessa, Rombo, Dabassa, Layoni and Mzima from Lesanju’s herd have all chosen to move with Emily’s herd now and hang out with the older Ex Orphans.

01 February 2016

It was a beautiful morning as the orphan elephants exited the stockades at dawn in a joyful mood. The orphans downed their morning milk bottle before beginning a game of chasing one another around the stockade compound. Tundani was bumper to bumper chasing and trying to mount anyone while Nelion returned to the stockade to scratch his itchy buttocks against the metal posts of the stockade. Suswa was very affectionate towards her best friend Arruba greeting her warmly and resting her trunk on Arrubas back. Mudanda and Elkerama seemed happy to stay in their stockades looking out between the wires of the electric fence to closely follow the others activities without becoming directly involved. Today Ndii took the lead as the orphan herd followed her to the browsing fields. The orphans settled to feed on the western foot of Msinga hill before making their way to the middle water pool a little before noon. They arrived at the mudbath for their milk bottle in groups of 5 with Tundani, Nelion, Elkerama, Suswa and Arruba being the first to arrive. None of the orphans entered the mudbath and as such it was not long before they all headed towards the Voi river circuit for the afternoon browsing session before returning to the stockades that evening.

02 February 2016

The day started well with some of the babies playing various different games at the stockade compound as Araba gulped down some clean water from the stockade water trough. Ndoria came out of nowhere ambushing Araba knocking her down to the ground. Araba screamed and in an instant Kenia, Ndii and the keepers were by her side consoling her as Ndoria quickly ran away pretending that she had done nothing wrong. Ndoria had struck a pose that made the keepers laugh and left Kenia and Ndii confused as to whether or not to punish her. The beginning of the daily journey to the bush marked an end to the morning stockade games. Soon after the juniors had left Lesanju’s herd arrived at the stockade compound for a drink of water closely followed by Emily’s group who had one of their favourite wild bull friends with them. Missing from the group was Mzima and a monitoring patrol was conducted to establish where he was. Unfortunately no one was able to see Mzima anywhere so it is a mystery as to which wild elephant herd he may have joined. The juniors and the ex-orphans did not meet up today as they were browsing in different parts of the park.

03 February 2016

After the morning milk feed the orphan herd made their way to the western side of Msinga hill, which is one of their favourite browsing areas. Nelion and Elkerama made their way further uphill followed closely by Naipoki, Ishaq-B and Mbirikani and it was not long before the rest of the group followed suit and they were all browsing half way up the hill. Ndoria, Mashariki and Tundani took the opportunity to move even further uphill only coming down when they were called when it was time to head to the noon mudbath and milk feed. Kenia led the group into the water splashing herself as the others dove in enjoying some mudbathing games. Mbirikani positions herself at the edge of the mudwallow where she bathed on her own avoiding the bathing competition that the rest of the group was engaged in. Lentili was the star of the mudbath remaining in the water long after the others had left to resume their browsing activities close by. Rorogoi enjoyed leading the group back to the stockades in the evening.

04 February 2016

It was a nice beginning of the day with the orphans happily coming out of their stockade to drink their milk before engaging in some socializing games in the stockade compound. Lentili was reluctant to play today as she dreamt of her leading her herd out to browse as soon as they had finished playing. She timed it perfectly and propelled the others forward in browsing to the far northern side of the stockade. The orphans browsed calmly throughout the morning, turning slowly and arriving at the middle water hole that afternoon. There was a lot of fun in the mud hole today with Mbirikani and Panda taking one another head on in an amazing bathing competition. Ndii came into the competition in her own unique style, sliding on the walls and falling into the water like an empty sack. Kihari then came in to challenge Panda but she played a rougher game and prodded Panda in the back, hence eliminating her from that lovely game. Mbirikani got a clean win and majestically left the water hole via the steep walls under the watchful eye of Mudanda and Nelion. The rest of the browsing day went on perfectly well with Emily and Lesanju herds not turning up to join them today.

05 February 2016

The orphans converged outside their stockade this morning trumpeting and rumbling their morning greetings. They touched each other’s trunks to appreciate the presence of one another, like how a bird sings in the morning to salute a new day. Naipoki, Panda and baby Bada led all the other babies towards the park to begin the day of browsing. Mbirikani took some of the orphans including Elkerama, Suswa, Arruba, Rorogoi and Mashariki, separating them from the rest of the orphans to browse and only rejoining the others to prepare to head towards the water hole at noon. Emily and Lesanju’s herds came into the stockade in the morning after the juniors had left for browsing with missing Mzima. It was lovely to see him safely in the fold. Emily’s one year old calf Emma was seen having a soft spot for newborn Inca and constantly following him around and trying to play with him. Emily’s herd came in with their usual wild bull elephant friend; ex-orphan big boy Laikipia arrived at the stockade three hours after Emily and Lesanju’s herd had already left for the field. They never linked up with the juniors throughout the whole day of browsing.

06 February 2016

The orphans had a wonderful time playing in the morning as they engaged each other in some enjoyable pushing games. Bada had a wrestling match with Tundani as Araba watched them with great curiosity. Rorogoi attempted to join them, but became a little shy and pulled back leaving the two to enjoy their game. Ndii took the leadership role of the others today, making sure she was in full control of the herd instead of Lentili. When the orphans were in the middle of browsing, Emily’s herd was sited walking past them a little further away heading towards the stockade compound. Lesanju’s herd was not with them today. Siria saw the juniors and came over to join them as they were taking a rest under a tree. Siria has a soft spot for Naipoki, resting his trunk comfortably on her back. Naipoki was very happy to be singled out for this attention and enjoyed Siria’s company. Siria then left the juniors and followed Emily’s herd to the stockade. Emily’s herd drank briefly in the stockade and then went to look for the juniors at the middle water hole, just missing them as they had already left to go browsing again. Lesanju’s herd came into the stockade at midnight without members of Emily’s herd, and left early in the morning before the juniors exited their stockades.

07 February 2016

It was a quiet morning with just the bird songs blessing the stockade as the orphans assembled themselves for their delicious milk bottles. Rorogoi took the opportunity to scratch her itchy buttocks on the rock boulder close to the water hole, as the others were busy gulping down some fresh clean water from the troughs. Embu was apparently on the waiting list as she went to do the same after Rorogoi was finished scratching. Today Kihari took the lead of the others to the browsing ground after all the playing and feeding activity was over. After four hours of a peaceful browsing, Lesanju’s herd emerged from the Mzima-Mombasa pipe line side to join the juniors; their re-union was highly charged! They then all moved together to the middle water hole where they enjoyed some mud bathing games. Embu, Rorogoi, Elkerama, Suswa, Mashariki and Arruba took a quick bath and allowed the seniors to enjoy theirs as they remained spectators. Baby Bada went to take a closer look at Mzima’s games as he was busy competing with Sinya. While in the middle of enjoying their mud bath, big boy ex orphan Laikipia came alone to visit them. At first the orphans mistook his big size for a wild elephant bull and they all ran out of the water. Mzima then went over to greet him, with the Lesanju’s herd later following him towards the Voi River leaving the juniors behind.

08 February 2016

It was a cool morning today with the orphans playing very nicely in the stockade compound. Mbirikani had a fun time playing and scratching on the rocks close to the stockade water trough. Nelion and Elkerama enjoyed their game of playing with water in the trough after drinking. Nelion and Elkerama’s friendship seems to have flourished over time; they are both heavy feeders and embark on browsing missions together, looking for greens around the stockade water hole and leaving the games up to the rest of their friends. Lentili rounded up the herd so they could all move to the browsing grounds together. Afternoon came fast and the orphans headed to the middle water hole in groups of five to have their milk bottles and enjoy a swim. Panda, Naipoki and Mbirikani secured their own small water pool away from the others to play inside. They were very organized in their bathing methods for this little pool - each lying for a swim and then coming out to allow another the opportunity to splash around. Embu also enjoyed her bath in the main water pool, dipping her head into the deep water. Tundani ended there too. The rest of the browsing day went on perfectly well on the lower, flat plains of the park.

09 February 2016

The orphans welcomed the day in a happy mood as each of them came out of the stockades for their milk bottle. Ndoria finished her milk bottle and moved on to bump into Kihari whilst she was still drinking hers. Kihari stopped drinking to turn and chase off Ndoria irritated about the interruption at such an important time. Ndoria took refuge where Kenia and Ndii were standing, blocking Kihari from entering between them. Embu saw what had happened and ran away, leaving her half milk bottle, in fear that Ndoria might come after her next! Having enjoyed her fill Kihari then started to lead everyone out to the field; no one played any games that morning as Ndoria had ruined the playful atmosphere in the stockade compound, but instead it was all about feeding it seemed. Later in the morning Emily and Lesanju’s herd walked past the juniors heading to the stockade for a drink. Bada, Suswa and Ishaq B got excited upon seeing little Inca and tried to follow them, but they could not catch up with them. The two herds, junior and ex-orphans, did not link up for the rest of the browsing day. There has been great interaction between the other wild orphans in the stockade compound too; Ngulia the zebra seems to have taken on the leadership role of both Kore and Tawi the orphan elands and Jamhuri (previously named Galana) the orphan buffalo too. Jamhuri has been trying to suckle from the underside of both Kore and Tawi – they stand calmly as if they enjoy being tickled on their tummies by her suckling. To see the maternal instinct of Ngulia as she cares for her motley herd is so sweet.

10 February 2016

The elephants hastily left their stockades this morning to drink their milk bottles. They all drank their milk in peace with the keepers keeping a close eye on Ndoria so that she would not disturb her friends this morning. They then played some games in the stockade compound before following Embu to the browsing grounds. Soon after they had left the stockade, Emily herd’s arrived without Laikipia or Lesanju’s herd. Only Mzima was present with Emily’s herd together with their usual wild bull elephant friend who they seem to have recruited into their ex-orphan herd. Mzima obviously has a soft spot for Safi, and Eve can sometimes become a little jealous, pretending to play with a wrestling match with Mzima so that she can distract his attention away from baby Safi. The ex-orphans then all left the stockade travelling all the way to the middle and the big water holes but they did not succeed in catching up with the juniors today who had already left the middle water pool by noon and were already browsing in a different area. It’s more than a week now since the other cow elephant with a small baby came to the stockade, thought to be an ex-orphan; she has not turned up again nor been seen in the area since.

11 February 2016

There were only some brief games in the stockade compound this morning before the herd followed Naipoki and Ishaq B, who have previously not shown any interest in leading the others. The orphans browsed in single file, visiting the middle water pool at noon. Soon after they plunged into the water, Lesanju’s herd came to join them in a swim. Mzima, who was with Emily’s herd yesterday, was still missing from Lesanju’s herd today. Mudanda and Bada, who have resorted to following Ndii after losing their adopted mother Wasessa to the newly formed ex-orphan herd, showed no interest in Wasessa when she arrived today. Bada decided to stay out of the water for the time that Lesanju’s herd was there, and was later escorted in by Ndii to take a swim after the seniors had left the water pool. Lempaute came to cheer Bada on in his bathing games as he swam close to Ndii. Embu and Mashariki also came in to enjoy their swim after the seniors had left. Layoni, Dabassa and Rombo led the seniors towards the Voi River, leaving the juniors behind.

12 February 2016

Kenia led the juniors to feed on a green bush in the stockade area as she fed on some tall and lush green grass. Soon after they had left ex orphan and now wild Mweya came in, alone, running and charging in her own unique way! She drank clean water from the stockade water trough and messed around in the compound for some time. Twenty minutes later Emily and Lesanju’s herd came in with Mzima as well. They were in the company of their usual wild elephant bull friends except that Laikipia was missing from the herd. After drinking in the stockade, Thoma and Rombo went to stand next to each other and were looking very sleepy, due to a long night of browsing. Eve invited her two bull friends Layoni and Dabassa to wrestle with her in some light playing games. Dabassa later gave up the game leaving it to Layoni. Thoma approached the two to referee the match that lasted for a considerable amount of time. Emma who was distance away ran back protesting what her darling sister Eve was doing, not realizing it was only a game and not a real fight. Emma succeeded in rescuing her sister Eve, but Layoni dramatically grabbed Eve once again for the same match. Emma became very uncomfortable and went to seek Lesanju’s intervention on the matter. Lesanju came over and touched Emma to reassure her, leaving the two to enjoy their strength pushing game. The rest of the browsing day went on well with ex-orphans not catching up with the juniors for the rest of the day.

13 February 2016

It was a cold morning with light rain showers welcoming the juniors in Kenia, Panda and Lentili’s herd, twenty stockade dependant babies in total. They browsed in a single file towards the northern side of the stockade, enjoying a green bush that is still prominent at this time of year. After browsing for two hours, Kihari took little Araba and separated her from the rest - taking their own time browsing together until it was time to head to the middle water hole. The two allowed all their friends to move towards the water hole before they followed them last and were the last to have their bottles. All the orphans then proceeded to drink clean water from the half drum barrels before moving to the main water pool. Mzima soon arrived, moving straight to the water barrels but he was out of luck as all the water had already been drunk by the juniors when they had arrived. Ndoria was the only orphan who moved into the water to have a cold bath but she only stood in the middle of the water without taking a proper swim. Ishaq B was curious of joining Ndoria in the water, but only went to test the water by the edge of the pool and decided not to enter. Mzima joined Ndoria as she came out of the water and she followed him for one hundred meters before returning back to join her herd. The rest of the browsing day went on perfectly well but the juniors saw no other member of either Lesanju or Emily’s herds that day.

14 February 2016

It was a nice morning today with the juniors moving out of the stockade compound very early in the morning after all the feeding and playing activity was over. They visited the middle water hole to drink milk and water but did not take a bath as it was fairly cold today. A morning monitoring patrol located Emily’s herd with only Rombo and Layoni within it and noticed other members from Lesanju's herd comprising of Mzima, Lesanju, Sinya, Kivuko, Wassesa, Dabasa and Taveta were missing. Emma, Eden and Safi were very tired and slept together under tight security from their mothers and their nannies in the herd. A few big orphans were seen lying and having a peaceful sleep after their long browsing missions during the night. Layoni was sleeping with his friend Rombo, taking guard over him. Inca was being guarded by their wild elephant bull friend before being handed over to Mweya who was waiting nearby. Inca felt Mweya’s warmth and tried to suckle from her but obviously she did not have any milk. Eventually his mother Icholta came over and took charge over the little boy and to feed him. This herd later in the afternoon arrived at the stockade to have some water and a brief rest before moving off to the browsing grounds. Lesanju’s herd didn’t turn up to the stockade during this day or during the night.

15 February 2016

The morning was perfect with the juniors playing in the stockade compound before leaving for the browsing grounds. Today was cold and there were no games but just serious browsing business. The orphans visited the middle water hole and only Mashariki tried the cold water as the others all reluctantly moved to continue browsing – they wanted to swim but the cold water made them decide otherwise. Jamhuri the orphan buffalo is doing so well and has a very close attachment to the male orphan baby eland Tawi. It seems clear that Lesanju has started becoming uncomfortable with Emily leading her herd and Lesanju and some others were missing from Emily’s herd recently. Today Emily’s herd came into the stockade with only three from Lesanju’s herd. Rombo, Dabassa and Wasessa. Siria and Irima who had been on and off with Emily’s herd were present today. Irima was playing with Wasessa close to the stockade water trough. Moran was seen to be in close friendship ties with Siria for the entire time they hung around the stockade compound. Half an hour later they left without meeting up with the juniors for the rest of the day.

16 February 2016

It was a wonderful morning with the orphans enjoying their games of hide and seek after all the milk and supplement feeding was over. Ishaq B and Kihari then led them to the browsing grounds. After a peaceful milk feeding session at the middle water hole around noon, Nelion went for his wall pushing games with Mashariki moving in like a diver to challenge him. Nelion turned back for those swimming games and when he seemed like he was going to lose he sat on Mashariki’s stomach, bringing an end to the game and Mashariki’s potential victory today. Tundani had his amazing scratching games on the wall of the waterhole, moving occasionally to ride on the backs of his friends lying down and at the same time ruining their swimming games. Suswa was the first victim and Bada was the next. Ndii lay down in her own bathing game and Panda moved in a rush to enter the water but Ndii lay on one of her front legs restricting her entry into the water. Panda later managed to get in and there was a tough bathing encounter between the two. Panda became exhausted though and marched out of the water giving Ndii a clean victory. Ndii got very excited and stood up charging and kicking the surface of the water with her forefeet, splashing water everywhere. Bada and Mudanda went for a beautiful dusting game; Ishaq B joined them for a little while before joining the others who were browsing. Soon after they left the water hole ex orphans Mweya and younger Layoni arrived for a wonderful noon mud bath. Mweya took Layoni with her to join Emily’s herd who were resting under a tree close to the path that leads to the middle water hole. Mweya charged and blocked the stockade pick up that was heading to the stockade from the water hole. She is always very protective of the little babies. Seraa was seen sleeping with all the four babies Inca, Safi, Emma and Eden. Lesanju, Lempaute, Sinya, Dabassa, Kivuko, Rombo, Taveta and Mzima came to drink water in the stockade this afternoon, and went browsing up the Msinga Hill as a contented group.

17 February 2016

Today during morning milk feeding time Rorogoi and Mashariki were both trying to squeeze through the middle of the door at the same time, screaming, as they both tried to run for their delicious morning bottle first. Ndii and Kenia didn’t bother checking what the fuss was about as they were focused on getting their own milk bottles as well. At 6.20am, Lesanju’s herd that had Sinya, Lempaute, Taveta, Kivuko, and Mzima as well as big boy Laikipia arrived at the stockade. Laikipia felt very happy with the juniors in Lesanju’s herd, who occasionally tossed their small trunks up to touch him on his face and back with great respect and appreciation of his kind presence among them. Laikipia was seen to be having close friendship ties with Mzima, and they were close to each other throughout the time they spent in the stockade compound. Wasessa, Rombo and Layoni from Lesanju’s herd seemed to stay with Emily’s herd. Lempaute enjoyed a game of scratching her itchy buttocks on the rock builder, with Lesanju coming in to interfere in her game. They later moved to the dependent orphan’s middle water hole for a brief bath before heading towards the Voi River to browse. Later in the evening the juniors were scattered across the browsing grounds; Kenia grouped them together and lead them with Mudanda towards the stockade for the evening. Araba, Ndii and Panda who were browsing slightly further away spent extra energy running to catch up with the others who had already left the field for the stockade.

18 February 2016

The morning was good with the juniors coming out and enjoying a morning milk bottle before heading to the field under the leadership of Lentili. Half an hour after their departure Emily’s herd, with Lesanju’s herd on board too today, arrived at the stockade. Mweya stretched her trunk to reach for some nice green vegetation on the other side of the fence after drinking clean water from the stockade trough. She did that whilst managing to avoid touching the electric wire fence, with Lesanju standing and watching her with great curiosity. Meanwhile Emma was busy playing in the stockade water trough after drinking water. Inca went to play a wonderful game lying down and playing in the dust. Laikipia and the wild elephant bull were also present with these herds today. The herd did not catch up with the junior dependent orphans today. Later this afternoon a report came in from the KWS rangers guarding the rail way of an orphan elephant calf in the drainage channels of this new Chinese constructed rail way in Kenani. A rescue team was mobilized from both the Voi stockade and the veterinary unit. Upon arriving, the rescue team found the orphan calf in a state of collapse. The calf was rescued from this steep and one meter deep channel but was without the energy to stand on his own feet. He was in a state of almost complete collapse and was driven to the Voi stockade on drip to be revived en route. These channels that are running across long stretches of the park are currently posing a huge danger for the wild animals approaching this rail way line and a fence around them seems of great importance. Ngutuni fence work that the Trust is about to undertake will fence the 1st phase of more than 14km which will block the animals from approaching such dangers in future. The little calf was called Kenani and is newborn. He was driven to the Voi airstrip where he was collected by the Nursery Rescue team and flown back to the Nairobi Nursery. Lesanju sneaked away from Emily’s herd and came into the stockade with Lempaute, Sinya and Taveta. They spent that night browsing close to the stockade and left early the following morning.

19 February 2016

This morning Nelion and Elkerama attempted to drive the others to browse up the hill but Kenia, Ndii and Lentili decided to by-pass them and move further towards the northern side of the stockade. Emily’s herd visited the stockade after the dependant orphans had left. Layoni, Dabassa, Wasessa, and Mzima were still with Emily’s herd and Lesanju who sneaked away yesterday with Lempaute, Sinya, Kivuko and Taveta were missing in action today. The ex orphans relaxed in the stockade compound with Safi playing with water in the stockade water trough. He sucked the water with his little trunk before blowing it back into the trough again. Eve was enjoying a lovely game playing on one of the stockade rocks when Morani approached her for a pushing game. Eve enjoyed her game away from Emma who was busy playing on another rock in the stockade compound, eliminating the chance of her being jealous of her game with Morani. This herd later left the stockade but never met up with the stockade dependant orphans who visited the middle water hole this day and had a lot of fun in some mud bathing games.

20 February 2016

It was fairly cold today with light rain showers in the morning as the orphans came out their stockades. Suswa and Arruba were seen browsing close together throughout the better half of this day. A wild herd of elephants approached the juniors to join them but Arruba and Suswa shied away from them. They only spent a brief moment with the orphans and then proceeded on with their browsing journey. Bada fell in love with one big wild elephant cow and decided to go with her when they separated from the orphan herd. The keepers had a difficult time calling him back from a distance as one wild elephant cow was very aggressive in protecting her herd. The keepers finally succeeded in collecting Bada and re-uniting him with the other orphan elephants; he is still too small to go wild and needs milk as part of his diet. The orphans then visited the middle water hole for water and their milk bottle but didn’t take a bath today as it was too cold. They then settled close to this water pool to browse for the rest of the day. Ishaq B enjoyed leading them back to the stockade that evening.

21 February 2016

It was a very calm morning with the orphans leaving the stockade under the leadership of Embu and Lentili. All the orphans concentrated on browsing and there were no games. Emily’s herd was seen from afar, converged under a big acacia tree to allow the four calves to sleep in peace and safety. In the stockade, Ngulia came out to receive the other three orphan babies Tawi, Kore and Jamuhuri the orphan Buffalo who are all doing well.

22 February 2016

It was a nice morning with Kenia, Ndii and Panda giving up their usual stockade games to consolidate their herd and walk to the browsing ground, when they saw Emily’s herd approaching the stockade. Lesanju’s herd was not among them today. There was a nice moment as the ex-orphans enjoyed drinking clean water with Safi, Emma and Eden playing on the walls of the stockade water trough. Inca was enjoying his own scratching game on a rock close to them, and after they had finished their own game Eden and Emma joined him too. Siria was here with the ex-orphans today, and he went to play a wrestling match with Eve, before Emma became jealous and went over to Siria to make him play with her as well, relieving her sister Eve. Laikipia jumped into the water trough with his two front feet in water and enjoyed this cooling feeling. The ex-orphans then left the stockade in the direction the juniors had left, arriving at the middle water hole for a bath half an hour before the arrival of Kenia’s herd. When Emily’s herd then left towards the Voi River, Elkerama, who has becoming very outgoing, saw them and tried to follow them. The keepers had to call him back to join the other milk dependant orphans. The orphans had a lot of fun in their mud bathing games with Bada, Panda, Ndii and Lentili shining in their own unique bathing style, all focused on impressing the other orphan spectators who stood to cheer them on. The rest of the browsing day went on close to that water hole with all the keepers kept a keen eye on Elkerama’s movement, so he could not sneak away. It is certain that it will not take long for Elkerama to be an independent orphan, but it is not ideal as he is still on milk. While he is old enough to survive without, in a wild situation he would be on milk for four years.

23 February 2016

It was a sunny morning with the orphans coming out of their stables, running to drink their morning milk bottle. Araba screamed when Rorogoi overtook her whilst they were running for their bottles, imagining that her milk was going to be grabbed by the first orphans to reach the feeding area. There were only some brief games in the stockade compound before Kenia and Ndii took the lead of taking the others out to the browsing grounds. On arriving at the foot of Msinga Hill, the keepers heard a strange sound like a huge blowing, puffing sound along the elephant foot path, which scared Suswa, Arruba and Mashariki who were standing there at the time. This sound was herd yesterday in the evening as well, when the orphans were walking past the same spot, but the keepers thought it was a bird. A closer investigation by the keepers this morning revealed a big Puffadder snake which posed a huge danger to both the orphans, the ex-orphans, the keepers and other wild animals using this common foot bath exiting from the stockade to the main park. The keepers walked away with the orphans to the field, hoping that snake would move away from that hole later in the day. The keepers returned back later to see if the snake was still there but it had gone.

24 February 2016

It was a nice, warm morning as Ndoria, Araba, Suswa, Tundani, Mudanda and Bada came out running to drink their delicious milk bottles, emptying them in a few minutes and obediently paving the way for the other orphans behind them to come for their milk. There were some fantastic socializing games in the stockade compound before Embu took the lead of taking them towards the browsing grounds. Here the orphans settled to browse in single file with Mudanda and Bada attaching themselves with Ndii to browse. The orphans then visited the middle water hole at noon where they had a lot of fun in some mud bathing games. Elkerama swam in the central part of the water pool, shining as he played in the plentiful water. Nelion came in to join Elkerama as Panda went to lie on the edge of the water pool, avoiding the bathing competition with the others. Ndii saw Panda’s tricks and plunged into the water to encourage her to a huge bathing competition. Panda left and moved to take a bath on the furthest side away from Ndii. The rest of the browsing day went on perfectly well with Lesanju, Lempaute, Kivuko, Layoni, Sinya and Mzima coming to the stockade today in the evening, after going missing for the last two days. They later left the stockade around midnight for the park.

25 February 2016

The morning was good with Emily’s herd being the earliest callers to the stockade this morning. First in came Mweya, in the company of little Inca. For the first time, Inca seemed surprised to see the stockade dependant orphans assembling to drink their milk from a bottle given by the keepers. Mweya assured him that it was the routine of the day, even his own mother was at one time fed milk in the same way. Kenia and Ndii gathered their herd and without a greeting, they left the stockade heading to the browsing grounds. Kivuko, who was with Lesanju’s herd when they visited the stockade last night, was with Emily’s herd today, together with Wasessa, Rombo and Dabassa who seem to have permanently joined Emily’s herd. After drinking at the stockade, Inca became very excited and started a wonderful sitting on his buttocks games, which later attracted Emma’s attention and she followed him too. The ex-orphans then followed the juniors to the field but they did not catch up with them as Kenia and Ndii had driven them far onto the northern side of the park to browse.

26 February 2016

The orphans lined up in the browsing grounds when all the milk and supplement feeding was over in the morning. Lentili took the lead with Embu coming up from behind and overtaking her to lead. Arriving out in the field the orphans settled to browse. They later visited the middle water pool to drink milk and water but did not take a bath as it was fairly cold. Emily’s herd was then seen browsing close to that middle water hole. Inca introduced a beautiful pushing game with all the other three babies Emma, Eden and Safi. At the end of the game Inca went down on the ground in his own style, and Sweet Sally came over to establish that he was okay. She was happy to find it was only Inca’s technique in the game and that they were all happily enjoying. The night’s activities seemed to take their toll on some of the ex orphans as Morani, Irima and Mweya all fell asleep in a standing position. Safi went to sleep while anchoring onto the forefoot of Mum - Sweet Sally. The ex-orphans didnt meet with the stockade dependant orphans for this particular day.

27 February 2016

Araba took good care of herself when she came out and stood next to Ndoria for the morning milk bottles. Ndoria is well known for ambushing and pushing the others when it is milk feeding. Araba took her milk bottle and with one eye permanently fixed on Ndoria, she drank her milk, ready to run off at a moment’s notice. There were no games in the stockade this morning and the orphans started out for the field to browse. Afternoon came fast and the orphans obeyed their daily routine of moving to the middle water hole to enjoy their afternoon milk bottle and have some fun in mud bathing games. Kenia and Ndii’s happiness for the day diminished when Lempaute and Kivuko, without the other members of Lesanju’s herd, emerged to join the stockade dependent orphans in the water hole for a bath. Lempaute stamped her authority over the herd to take the lead for the rest of the days browsing. The juniors that had missed these orphans gave them hero’s treatment whilst browsing, converging around them most of the time. Lempaute and Kivuko then escorted the stockade dependant orphans back to the stockade in the evening; they left the stockade compound after a couple of hours.

28 February 2016

As the orphans came out of their stockades there was a dramatic moment when Ndoria stood blocking the exit door, ready to ambush Mudanda to bite her tail as soon as she stepped forward. Mudanda refused to move out with Ndoria in front until she had moved for her milk bottle. Araba was also keen to avoid Ndoria’s trap and she waited patiently until Ndoria had stepped clear of the door. The browsing day went on perfectly well. Lesanju, Lempaute, Sinya and Taveta came to the stockade to drink water in the afternoon, without other members of their herd. The four left the stockade soon after drinking water. When the dependant orphans started moving back towards the stockade in the evening, Lesanju’s herd emerged from the northern side of Msinga Hill following them to the stockade at a distance. The herd moved fast and caught up with the orphans where it was noticed that there was only three of them, Lempaute, Mzima and tuskless Kivuko. They escorted the juniors into the stockade area where they enjoyed a wonderful drinking session with the orphans there, before leaving again one hour later.

29 February 2016

It was a wonderful morning with the orphans welcoming another day with rain showers for half an hour, recording 10mm of rain. The orphans left the stockade for the browsing grounds soon after all the milk and supplement feeding activity was over. Kenia had a soft spot for Araba today, selecting her for private browsing sessions slightly apart from the others. Nelion noticed them and kindly asked if she could join their company and she was welcomed. The orphans later visited the middle water pool to enjoy their afternoon milk bottle. Some of the orphans plunged into the water pool and splashed the water with their trunks, spraying Araba with water. Slightly to the side, Suswa went to scratch the itchy underside of her stomach on a fallen tree trunk. Ishaq B then came in with a different scratching style, scratching her itchy buttocks on the same fallen tree trunk. The rest of the browsing day went on perfectly well with Lesanju’s herd not coming to the stockade on this particular day. Orphan zebra Ngulia’s little eclectic herd comprised of the two orphan elands Kore and Tawi and orphan buffalo Jamuhuri, had a wonderful day grazing and playing in the stockade compound. Ngulia would take the orphans off far from the stockade to browse, and return back to the stockade running with the other three orphans following, leaving their keepers behind.