Keepers' Diaries, January 2012

Voi Reintegration Unit

Having been moved from the Nursery in December, Layoni, Rombo and Dabassa have settled well into the Voi Unit, initially preferring to distance themselves a little from the others whilst out browsing, as, indeed, they used to do in the Nursery, but by month end very much part of the gang. The newcomers have been warmly embraced by the Voi Unit orphans, Kenia paying particular attention to Layoni, caressing him with her trunk and often browsing by his side throughout the day.

01 January 2012

The New Year began for the Voi orphans with play in the Compound before heading out to browse East of the Stockades. They came for their milk at the Stockade where Lesanju lay in the pile of soft red soil after bathing. Eventually Lempaute trumpeted “time to move” and all headed out to browse again, Lesanju reluctantly following the others, having thoroughly enjoyed the red soil. They reached the Big Waterhole in the Park at 3 p.m. where they had fun, before slowly browsing their way back to the Stockades in the evening.

02 January 2012

Siria, who had upgraded himself to Emily’s Ex Orphan group living wild, came to the Stockades alone first thing in the morning to join the Keeper Dependent gang. He attempted to challenge Mzima for a Pushing Match, but was a bit too rough for Mzima’s liking, obviously used to sparring with Bigger Boys in Emily’s group, such as Laikipia. Siria hung out with the Youngsters all day, and returned with them to the Stockades in the evening, where they were joined by Emily’s group who had a wild boy with them. Having taken water, they left with Siria an hour later.

03 January 2012

Siria turned up again in the morning to join the Youngsters. He found a flat rock that was warm on which to lie and warm himself up on a cool morning, joined by Lempaute, both elephants closing their eyes in bliss! Lesanju, Shimba and Taveta were curious, watching the two in amazement, and once they vacated their flat rocks, Taveta decided to give it a go, but soon had to catch up with the others who were heading off. Siria returned to the Stockades in the evening with the Youngsters, but left a little later.

04 January 2012

The orphans scaled the Northern side of Mazinga hill to browse, and came for their noon milk and a mudbath at the Stockade compound. Dida managed to climb the hill with them. Later in the afternoon, they reached the Big Waterhole where they had a lot of fun, swimming and playing in the water.

05 January 2012

The day turned very hot, so the orphans took to shade. Kenia had a soft spot for Layoni, stroking his back gently with her trunk in a gesture of friendship, and remaining close to him as he browsed. Taveta scratched himself against a tree, but Mzima pushed him away roughly to take his place. The orphans had to take to shade again in the afternoon before continuing to browse.

06 January 2012

The orphans indulged in exuberant play at the Stockades today, with red dust filling the air. Lesanju led the group out to browse, again browsing under shade wherever possible since the temperature was high. At the mudbath Mzima mounted onto Kenia who was lying in the water. Later Mzima sought the assistance of Lesanju and Lempaute to expel Taveta from the pool, since he was becoming a bit too exuberant. Later the browsed the eastern foot of Mazinga hill before returning to the Stockades in the evening.

07 January 2012

Emily and Edie’s Ex Orphan groups were early visitors to the Stockades, their calves looking playful and well. For the first time they noticed the latest arrivals from the Nursery – Dabassa, Rombo and Layoni, whom they had not met previously. Mweya, Laikipia and Ndara selected Dabassa for a special greeting, Mweya paying him loving attention. They all enjoyed some playful Pushing Games with the new arrivals, and when the Ex Orphans were ready to leave, Thoma and Mweya encouraged Dabassa and Layoni to head the column. The two went a short distance with the Ex Orphan group, but returned when the Keepers called them back, since both still need milk. Emily and Edie did not show much interest in the new arrivals, leaving other members of their group to undertake the familiarization process.

08 January 2012

Sinya enjoyed playing in an erosion trench out in the field, but the rest of the Juniors concentrated on feeding. Mzima dominated the mudbath today as well as the Soil Dusting Pile, joined by Tassia. The rest of the day passed peacefully.

09 January 2012

It was a wonderful morning, happiness exuding from all the elephants as they played in the Stockade compound to welcome a new day. Out in the field all concentrated on browsing until noon when Lesanju and Kenia enjoyed dusting themselves, and Wasessa escorted her darling Emsaya to also enjoy a dust bath. Mzima began to dominate the dust pile, so Lempaute sat on his head, prompting him to quit! Rombo led the column back to the Stockades in the evening.

10 January 2012

The orphans arrived at the Big Waterhole at noon, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves there. Tassia, Taveta and Dabassa remained in the water long after the others had left. Mzima was in competition with Lempaute and Shimba in the Dust Bath until he blew dust into the eyes of his two peers, forcing them to leave so that he had it all to himself! All then browsed calmly for the remainder of the day.

11 January 2012

The Ex Orphan Groups of Emily and Edie came to the Stockades in the evening after the Juniors were in their Night Stockades. Siria was with them, as was the wild boy that they seem to have recruited permanently into their Group. Although the wild recruit is a lot older than the Ex Orphan Bulls of the group, he gets on well with them, all having mutual respect. The wild Boy is also very loving and attentive to Emily’s baby, Eve, often stroking her with his trunk. The Ex Orphans lifted their trunks to salute the Juniors in the Stockades after drinking at the Stockade trough. Meanwhile Emily’s baby, “Eve” enjoyed climbing up the large boulder in the Stockade compound, closely attended by her Nannie Sweet Sally and Mvita who kept extending a trunk to touch the baby as though warning her of the danger of falling off. After about an hour, the Ex Orphan Group left, taking Siria off with them.

12 January 2012

The orphans browsed during the morning, but after the noon milk Tassia and Taveta chased each other to the Big Waterhole, as though showing off to all the others. Wasessa intervened to separate the two who were engaging one another in the water. Later all browsed peacefully until it was time to return in the evening.

13 January 2012

The Ex Orphans (Emily’s and Edie’s groups) came to drink at the Stockades in the morning, just after the Juniors had left for the field, Siria with them. Ndara, Mvita, Mweya and Sweet Sally kept vigil over the wild-born babies of Emily and Edie, namely “Eve” and and “Ella”, monitoring their every movement. Both Mothers were totally relaxed, confident that their offspring were in good hands. Later Icholta took little Eve for a scratching game before the Ex Orphans moved off.

14 January 2012

After the usual fun in the Stockade Compound, the Juniors were led out to browse by Lempaute. At noon, after their milk, all plunged into the Big Waterhole, Kenia encouraging Dida to go in, who cautiously kept an eye on the exuberant colleagues. Whilst the Juniors were bathing, Burra arrived on his own and went to join Dabassa in the pool, but Dabassa was scared and ran out, prompting all the others to do the same, which made the Keepers laugh. Burra to enjoy bathing on his own. However, later he joined them at the dustbath where he stroked Dida gently with his trunk in a compassionate gesture of love and concern. Having spent time with the Juniors, Burra separated, heading towards the Voi river where the Ex Orphans were probably browsing.

15 January 2012

As soon as Wasessa emerged from her Stockade, she went to embrace her favourite, Emsaya, rumbling to her softly. On the way to the Big Waterhole Tassia and Taveta shared a scratching tree which was large enough to accommodate them both without a tussle. They then joined their colleagues who were bathing, and later all browsed until it was time to return in the evening.

16 January 2012

The Juniors browsed the eastern side of Mazinga Hill today, reaching the Big Waterhole at Noon. Kivuko was the first to plunge in with Ndii, Rombo and Dabassa following, joined later by their older colleagues, when the usual bathing games ensued. Afterwards Kenia took Ndii, Rombo, Dabassa, Layoni and Tassia to feed apart from the main group of Lesanju and the others, anxious to be the Matriarch of her own separate group. They all joined up later after about 2 hours apart.

17 January 2012

Once out in the field Shimba and Taveta engaged one another in a Test of Strength which broke off when they turned to charge two Klipspringers who were on a nearby rock. Siria came alone to join the Juniors, and showed a soft spot for Layoni, remaining close to him even after the others had headed off to the Big Waterhole. One Keeper remained behind to ensure that Siria didn’t go off with Layoni, but after about l0 minutes Siria escorted him instead to take his milk. Today Dida occupied a central position in the Waterhole and later enjoyed a scratching game with Emsaya, Wasessa and Kivuko. Having seen the Juniors back to their Stockades, Siria headed towards the Pipeline area, no doubt to meet up with the Ex Orphan Group.

18 January 2012

The orphans browsed the Northern side of Mazinga, reaching the Big Waterhole at noon, but as it was a cool day, they only sprayed water over their bodies and did not go in. Instead they opted for a dustbath, Kenia enjoying joint dusting with Taveta and Lempaute stealing the show. Mzima tried to mount Ndii as she was lying down but Shimba moved in quickly to challenge Taveta to a wrestling match instead. Later they all browsed close to the waterhole until it was time to return.

19 January 2012

The orphans browsed the lower slopes of Mazinga today, joined by Siria who was welcomed back with deep rumbles. Siria has been a lot better behaved since being with the Seniors, who had obviously instilled some discipline! Later Siria played gently with his old friend Mzima at the Big Waterhole. Once the Youngsters were back in their Night Stockades, Siria left.

20 January 2012

Today Shimba and Taveta enjoyed a spirited wrestling match, Taveta kneeling down at one point which tempted Shimba to mount onto him. This infuriated Taveta who rapidly rose to face Shimba in a serious fight, but Shimba decided to back off. The orphans all had a lot of fun in the Big Waterhole after their noon milk feed.

21 January 2012

The orphans played a game of Hide and Seek before Lesanju decided that it was time to head out to feed. Shimba and Taveta again decided to have a wrestling match, Taveta tackling Shimba skillfully from inside a bush which gave him much needed cover and gave him the advantage over Shimba.

22 January 2012

It was Stockade games as usual in the morning before the Juniors headed out. At the Big Waterhole all went in briefly, but enjoyed protracted dusting, Ndii and Taveta teaming up to welcome Rombo to do the same, showing him how to take soil into his trunk and spray it over his back and into the air. Rombo trumpeted in ecstasy having enjoyed this special attention. All browsed peacefully for the remainder of the day, Layoni leading the column back to the Stockades in the evening.

23 January 2012

The orphans welcomed the day in a happy mood, Emsaya, Dabassa and Kivuko taking a long drink before joining the others on the way out to feed. It was hot by the time the orphans reached the Big Waterhole at noon, so all rushed in to cool themselves, and went on to play, running in and out, trumpeting. Kenia and Ndii cut short their role in the game, to go and comfort Dida who was feeling “left out” on the sidelines. Later they browsed their way back to the Stockades in the evening.

24 January 2012

Aruba, the orphaned Kudu female reared by the Voi Elephant Keepers at the Voi Elephant Stockades, gave birth to a baby girl during the early hours of the morning, about l00 metres from the Stockades. When the Keepers spotted her, she was still cleaning the baby and she was happy to share her baby with the Keepers. Mkuki, the orphaned Kudu bull also hand-reared by the Keepers, who usually accompanies Aruba, was absent. The baby was beautiful and amazingly strong. We named her “Ziwaidi” (Swahili word for a “gift”.

25 January 2012

It was another hot day. The orphans browsed the western side of the hill today. Dabassa, Kivuko, Rombo and Dida took to the shade while Lempaute and Wasessa scratched against rocks. All enjoyed the Big Waterhole today, Lesanju sticking to Dida while Wasessa remained glued to Emsaya and Kenia with Ndii. Later the three new arrivals welcomed Tassia to join their waterhole games. In the evening Rombo headed the column back home.

26 January 2012

Kenia was glued to Dida today, remaining close to her throughout the day. She was in competition with Lesanju, who came to take over since she looks upon Dida as her particular favourite. Dida was happy to be so much in demand! Emsaya led the group to the waterhole at noon, and all had a wonderful time playing in the pool. Aruba and her baby were sighted on the Southern side of the Stockade today, the baby keeping pace easily with her mother.

27 January 2012

Taveta was the centre of attention at the mudbath today which made Tassia jealous who went in to pin him down. The Keepers had to intervene and Tassia exited the waterhole in a rush, running to Wasessa for protection who safeguarded him from Taveta’s retaliation. He managed to sneak back in after Taveta had come out, and the two boys forgot their difference and browsed peacefully together for the rest of the afternoon.

28 January 2012

Shimba and Taveta obviously had an old score to settle today whose cause was unknown to the Keepers since both are in different Night Stockades. Things deteriorated when Shimba tried to mount onto Taveta as he was drinking at the Stockade trough. Taveta spun round and charged after Shimba who surprised the Keepers by running faster despite his big stomach! Lesanju noticed things getting out of hand and turned back to install some discipline, both boys respecting her intervention. They put aside their differences at the Big Waterhole and played happily together.

29 January 2012

Tassia and Kivuko browsed side by side today, their bond of friendship extending to the waterhole where they played together happily. Wasessa played with Layoni and Taveta in the Big Waterhole, much to the disapproval of Tassia, who left the pool and went to dust himself instead. Wasessa came out and squatted on Lempaute’s stomach as she was in the throes of a dustbath, making poor Lempaute very uncomfortable until she managed to detach herself.

30 January 2012

The orphans returned to the Stockades for their noon milk and water after browsing the southern side of Mazinga hill. Here they interactged with the school children who benefit from the Trust’s Community Outreach Programme, Lempaute amusing the children by playing mischievously. Later the orphans moved to the Big Waterhole where Dabassa put on a spectacular display rolling in the pool while Ndii and Emsaya scratched their bodies against the nearby trees.

31 January 2012

It was misty as the orphans left the Stockades. Ex Orphan Mweya then turned up alone hoping to meet up with the Youngsters who had already left, so she had a drink from the Stockade trough and then moved off towards the Pipeline road where presumably Emily’s Ex Orphan Group were feeding. Aruba and her baby were once again spotted near the thick bush where it is believed the baby is hidden during the hours of darkness. Mkuki, the Ex Orphaned Kudu who is Aruba’s great companion was with them today. Other Notes:- The Ndara Windmill was repaired by the Kijito technicians, the Pump having been for service and new washers installed. Four 4” pipes that were leaking were replaced by new ones, so the Windmill is again performing well.