Keepers' Diaries, January 1999
Voi Reintegration Unit
Daphne Sheldrick reports "We were waiting at the mudbath for Malaika and the babies to arrive when we heard a lot of trumpeting in the distance. Suddenly NDUME arrived in a state, looked around hastily, and rushed off again, going through bushes in his haste. We could hear him trumpeting way in the distance, and suddenly the trumpetting stopped. Obviously he had been separated from DIKA because later all three BOYS arrived with two wild friends in tow. DIKA stood in front of us giving the usual "friendly" signal to his wild friends, as though to say "These humans are O.K." When the tractor arrived with water, THE BOYS went over to drink from the bins as they were being filled and the two wild elephants stood at a distance giving the "friendly signal" to the tractor! When an elephant gives the "friendly signal" the trunk is laid over a tusk.
01 January 1999
No Contact with wild Elephants. The country is very green and inland waterholes all full, so the wild elephants have left their usual dry season haunts, which includes the Voi River area, where the orphans are based. EDO is still with MALAIKA and the babies.
03 January 1999
MALAIKA’S group headed towards the Eastern side of Mazinga Hill. EDO was not in the group. At 12.30 p.m. they went to the mudbath where they met up with EDO, who then accompanied them back to the East side of the hill. There they met a wild bull the size of Olmeg, with whom EDO spent time playing.
04 January 1999
No contact with wild Elephants.
05 January 1999
EDO was not there to join Malaika in the morning when the Orphans left the stockade, and nor did he join them all day.
06 January 1999
At 12.30 p.m. the Orphans met up with EDO and CHUMA at the Red Mudwallow where they were joined by another wild bull, who spent the afternoon with all of us, EDO and CHUMA included. The wild bull even came back to the Stockades with the Orphans, but when the babies went in for the night, he left with EDO and CHUMA.
07 January 1999
Again MALAIKA’S group met up with EDO and CHUMA at the mudbath and spent the afternoon with them. However today EDO and CHUMA did not want to come back with the babies to the Stockades, so we left them near the river.
08 January 1999
After mudbath today, Malaika and the babies went towards the Eastern side of Mazinga hill where they met a wild elephant with 2 babies at 4.30 p.m. AITONG was busy playing with one baby of her size whilst UASO was playing with the other who was the size of LEWA. They stayed together but parted at the Eastern Spring Gate. EDO remained with the wild elephants and the orphans returned as usual.
09 January 1999
As soon as the Orphans left the Stockades, EDO arrived and accompanied them. When they reached Daniel’s house, they met CHUMA and another big wild bull who chased and mounted MALAIKA. After that the wild bull and CHUMA spent the whole day with MALAIKA and the babies until 6 p.m. when we took the babies back. We left EDO, CHUMA and wild bull playing near the East spring Gate, but after a few minutes they all arrived up at the Stockades.
10 January 1999
Today EDO, CHUMA and the huge wild bull who was over 20 years old joined MALAIKA and the babies at the Stockades in the morning and went with them. MALAIKA was being mated by the wild Bull all day long. When we returned to the Stockades in the evening we left EDO, CHUMA and the wild BULL near the Spring Gates.
11 January 1999
DIKA and NDUME arrived at the Stockade at about 4 a.m. to take water. They were accompanied by EDO, and hung around until morning, when MALAIKA and the babies came out. They spent the whole day with MALAIKA and her group.
12 January 1999
MALAIKA left as usual in the morning with the babies and also with DIKA, NDUME and EDO. Below Daniel’s house they met a group of wild elephants who were coming from the Campsite. They did not stay long and NDUME went with them for a short distance, but then returned to DIKA, MALAIKA and LEWA who were feeding apart from the others. After the mudbath, NDUME went off alone and was away for two hours but met up again with the Orphans later. Soon after his arrival another wild bull came following NDUME and he chased MALAIKA. DIKA and NDUME came back to the Stockades with MALAIKA.
13 January 1999
MALAIKA’S group were with DIKA, NDUME and EDO all day, but did not meet up with any wild elephants.
14 January 1999
THE BOYS were not at the Stockades this morning. MALAIKA took her charges up the hill where they spent the day.
15 January 1999
MALAIKA and the babies left the Stockades and headed towards Daniel’s house. DIKA, NDUME and EDO arrived late at the Stockades, coming from the Western side of the hill and followed the babies, meeting up with them, and remaining with them all day. But they did not come back to the Stockades with them.
16 January 1999
MALAIKA’s group left the Stockades as usual and were joined by EDO, DIKA and NDUME near Daniel’s house, who spent the whole day with them and came back with them to the Stockades in the evening.
17 January 1999
MALAIKA left the Stockades as usual, but THE BOYS were not with her. However, they met up later and spent the rest of the day together.
18 January 1999
The Orphans left the Stockades at the usual time, and just beyond the East Gate, they met a wild herd and spent two hours with them. THE BOYS were not around, but they met Malaika’s group at the mudwallow. They had another wild bull with them the size of Dika. The wild bull joined another herd near the Airfield, and the BOYS returned to the Stockades with Malaika and the calves.
19 January 1999
MALAIKA’s group met up with wild elephants at 2 p.m. after the mudwallow and spent an hour with them. They reported back at the Stockades at the usual time, but without THE BOYS.
20 January 1999
Malaika and the calves met up with the Boys at the mudbath, and spent the rest of the afternoon with them, returning all together to the Stockades in the evening.
21 January 1999
Malaika and the babies left at the usual time, but did not meet up with DIKA, NDUME and EDO until after the mudbath, when they met them on their way in. Only the babies came back in the evening, led by EMILY, but MALAIKA and THE BOYS followed later.
22 January 1999
MALAIKA and the babies went up the hill, and spent all day there, returning in the evening.
23 January 1999
MALAIKA and the babies met up with THE BOYS at the tip of Mazinga Hill and spent the morning with them, all of them coming to the mudbath together. In the afternoon they met up with another wild herd and remained with them until it was time to head back to the Stockades.
24 January 1999
The babies met up with the BIG BOYS at the Red Wallow at 11.30 a.m. The boys were coming from the Airfield. They remained with Malaika and the babies until we left them at the Spring Gates. The Boys did not come to the Stockades.
25 January 1999
Again MALAIKA and the babies joined up with the BOYS at 3 p.m. and they spent time together until Malaika led her group back to the Stockades.
26 January 1999
The babies again met up with DIKA, NDUME and EDO and spent the whole day together with them.
27 January 1999
Again the babies and Malaika met up with THE BOYS near Daniel’s house and spent the day with them, leaving them behind at the Spring Gates in the evening.
28 January 1999
MALAIKA and the babies again met THE BOYS below Daniel’s house and spent the day with them. In the evening, THE BOYS did not come with the others to the Stockades but they called by later on, and then left again.
29 January 1999
MALAIKA and the babies met the BOYS, who were with a wild group of about 12 or 15 led by a tuskless Matriarch, on their way to the mudbath at 11.30 a.m. MALAIKA’S group was highly welcomed by the wild herd (Lominyek’a herd?). The wild Matriarch did not want our Orphans to leave, and they remained together until midnight when our group reported back at the Stockades.
30 January 1999
The Orphans went towards the Research Centre, and met up with DIKA, NDUME and EDO at the mudwallow and spent the rest of the day with them. THE BOYS left the Stockades just after midnight heading for the Western side of Mzinga Hill.
31 January 1999
MALAIKA and the babies met up with THE BOYS at the mudbath, and spent the rest of the day with them, all returning together to the Stockades in the evening.