Keepers' Diaries, January 2000

Voi Reintegration Unit

Because of recent rain, all the wild elephants were absent from the Voi River Valley and our orphans had the area all to themselves. There was just one contact with wild elephants this month, and that was when Malaika arrived at the Stockades with a wild bull the size of Olmeg on the 26th, who ran off when the Keepers appeared. Malaika is no longer in the Stockades at night, but turned up frequently during the month to meet up with the others and spend time during the morning with them. On the 11th she was on the East side of Mazinga hill, but was not seen for the next two days, but sighted again on the 14th East of Mazinga, heading Northeast.

16 January 2000

On the 16th Malaika turned up at the stockades at 5.30 a.m. and all the orphans left together. Imenti was delighted to see his best friends Uaso and Lewa, and spent a lot of time playing, especially with Uaso. Edo appeared at the mudbath and afterwards Malaika separated, taking her group towards the back of the hill.

17 January 2000

On the 17th Imenti was very playful, tearing around bushes and charging them, banging them with his tusks. Today Malaika was seen on the East side of the hill.

18 January 2000

On the 18th Emily took her group below the Airfield and Imenti and Mweiga really enjoyed themselves in the mudbath. Imenti then spent a lot of time playing with Emily.

20 January 2000

Malaika was not seen on the 19th, but turned up at the Stockades at midnight. She spent the morning of the 20th with Emily's group, and Imenti spent the morning playing with Uaso and Lewa. After the mudbath, Malaika led her group away but turned up at the Stockades at 8.30 p.m.

21 January 2000

On the 21th Emily tried to kiss Imenti, but he did not like this, and knocked her down.

22 January 2000

The next morning Malaika was at the back of the hill, whilst Emily's group fed below the Research Centre. Malaika turned up at the Stockades at midnight and on the 22nd both groups left together and remained together until 10 am. when Malaika and her group left, this time taking Imenti with them. They reappeared at the mudbath and afterwards Malaika went off again, again with Imenti in tow.

23 January 2000

On the 23rd she was near the Airstrip and returned to the Stockades at midnight.

24 January 2000

On the 24th both groups left together and fed together until 10 a.m. when Malaika headed East. Emily's group enjoyed two mudbaths today, one at 11.30 a.m. and the next at 2 p.m. Imenti decided to remain with them and spent a long time chasing the butterflies around the mudbath. He then started to roll the drum about.

25 January 2000

On the 25th Daphne Sheldrick flew in to meet up with a Japanese Film Unit, to capture on film a famous Japanese film star meeting the Tsavo orphans, having spent two days with the Nursery babies in Nairobi. The report came in that Emily's group were hurrying along the side of Mazinga Hill above Daniel's house to meet up with Malaika's group who were below the hill. The visitors hurried to the spot, and arrived in time to see an amazing reunion, Emily rushing along to meet up with Malaika and a very fond greeting took place, with the Japanese in the midst of all the elephants, looking somewhat alarmed. After a while, everything settled down again, and Malaika's group moved away. Emily's group again enjoyed two wallows today.

26 January 2000

At 5.30 a.m. on the 26th, Malaika arrived at the Stockades with a wild bull the size of Olmeg but he took off when the Keepers appeared, and was not seen again. The two groups were together (with Edo) during the morning, but fed slightly separated. After the mudbath Malaika's group left heading in a Northerly direction.

29 January 2000

The next two days were uneventful, but Aitong and little Mweiga played together a lot in the mudbath. Malaika appeared again on the 29th at 3 a.m. and was with the others in the morning, leaving them at 9.30 a.m.

30 January 2000

On the 30th Emily's group again enjoyed two wallows, but Mweiga was reluctant. Imenti and Emily played very seriously together, with Imenti losing each round but always wanting more.

31 January 2000

The next day Emily's group browsed along the Western side of the hill, and then went up it. At 10 a.m. Mweiga was escorted down for her bottle of milk and the others watered at the Stockade. Malaika, meanwhile, was spotted at the back of the hill.