The Junior Keeper Dependent Voi Unit orphans have also enjoyed a lot of interaction with the Ex Orphans under the Matriarchal leadership of Emily, Edie accompanied by their respective wild-born young, “Eve” and “Ella”, with Thoma, Mweya and Icholta the main go-betweens between the Ex Orphan unit and Lesanju’s Keeper Dependent group. Lesanju would rather not have her Leadership usurped by older Ex Orphans, so she usually tries to call her unit away with a low rumble, to which the girls react, but to which the older bulls are less responsive, (i.e. Layoni, Rombo, Shimba and Dabassa who like being slightly independent of the female unit.) The Ex Orphans, aside from wanting to keep in touch with the dependent group, whom they regard as “family”, are, of course, also eager to partake of the Copra cake supplementary handout each morning if they can.
The smallest member of Lesanju’s Dependent group is “Panda”, who hitherto has been too weak to accompany the others out to browse, but who is now much better following a course of injectible Penicillin and a change of milk. The Keepers took her out with the others on one day during the month, but decided that she was still not quite up to it, so returned her to browse close to the Stockades, along with her little zebra friend named Lualeni – also an orphan whom the Voi Keepers are rearing.
Emily’s unit was at the Stockades on the 1st and again on the 3rd and 4th when Ex Orphan Seraa engaged Sinya in a Pushing Game and Taveta intervened on the side of Sinya. This angered Seraa, who shot round, grabbed him by the tail to pull him away and the drove him off! Meanwhile, Tassia who was also hoping to join in saw his friend being sent packing and likewise took to his heels, closely followed by the bellowing Taveta and leaving Seraa and Sinya to resume their game without interuption! That day Emily’s Unit spent an hour browsing with the Juniors in the bush and were with them at their mudbath as well. The Ex Orphans were back at the Stockades the next day, but arrived after the Juniors had already left, so joined them instead out in the bush, greeted by an enthusiastic and noisy welcome of trumpets and rumbles. Again they shared the Juniors’ mudbath and browsed alongside them until 4 p.m. when it was time for the Youngsters to return.
After that day there was a break until the 21st when the Ex Orphans again joined the Juniors at the Stockades in the early morning, shared their supplements, and remained with them until after the mudbath when they left with a passing wild herd.
On the 22nd Thoma came alone to the milk venue, un-noticed by Ndii and Taveta, who became scared when they suddenly noticed her presence and went running to Lesanju and Wasessa for protection. Thoma followed, but Lesanju decided to remove her unit, leaving Thoma on her own. Emily’s Unit were at the Stpockades again on the 28th just as the Juniors were leaving, so they missed out on the supplements. Thoma, Icholta and Mweya inspected the Stockades carefully, after which Thoma ran to block Lesanju, and attempted to steer her back to the Stockades. Icholta noticed that this was not popular with the Juniors, and took over, instead leading all the Juniors out to browse, Lesanju included. That day the Ex Orphans browsed alongside the Juniors for most of the day, and left Icholta with them in the afternoon when they parted company. They were all back at the Stockades early on the 29th, Thoma arriving first, followed by Mweya, and then Sweet Sally and the others. The Keepers fed the Juniors their milk inside their Stockades, because the Ex Orphans remember their own milk days, and often try to snatch a bottle – Big Boy Laikipia (now 13 years old) being the main offender in this respect!
On the 30th Emily’s unit was back before dawn, and hung around the waterhole until it was light, Thoma waiting just outside Lesanju’s Gate for the Keeper to open it up. As soon as he did so, Thoma barged in, and escorted Lesanju and her peers out. All browsed the slopes of Mazinga hill that day the Juniors enjoying the company of their Ex Orphan peers until Lesanju signaled that it was time for her group to return in the late evening. On the 31st the Ex Orphans linked up with the Juniors out in the bush, Thoma noticing that some of the Juniors were browsing apart from the others, so she went to check up on them and was greeted by a low rumble from Kenia.
Shimba (who is the main Climber) and his best friend, Mzima took Kivuto and Rombo to browse the top of Mazinga hill on the l8th, ignoring the mudbath hour. However, Kivuto and Rombo remembered their milk feed, and came rushing down at speed to get their share, leaving Shimba and Mzima at the top where they remained until darkness was setting in. (Layoni, Tassia, Kivuto and Taveta all now hold their own milk bottles which relieves the pressure on the Keepers at milk feeding times.)
Interludes with other species includes chasing the baboon troupe, who have become a nuisance around the Stockades and human habitation generally. The orphans thoroughly enjoy dispersing the naughty primates at every opportunity, and also dispersed the impala ram herd on another occasion. Lesanju was badly scared when she bumped into an old buffalo bull round a bush at the mudbath one day, rushing back yelling to her Keepesrs for protection! Upon going to see what had upset her, they caught a glimps of the old buffalo as he disappeared into the bush.
Aside from mingling with the Ex Orphans, there has only been two wild elephant interactions for the Juniors this month – on the 20th when they all stood in awe of a huge bull who passed close by, raised his trunk to test the wind, and shook his head in irritation having obviously got a whiff of human scent. On the 27th the Juniors joined a friendly wild herd out in the field. The wild Matriarch allowed Tassia, Taveta, Dabassa and Layoni to spar with wild age mates which came to an end when Tassia ran between Taveta and his sparring partner to escape being mounted by his victorious opponent, knocking down Taveta’s wild partner in the process. His bellows brought his wild mother charging to the rescue, so Taveta and Tassia were left legging it as hard as they could. After this Lesanju wisely withdrew her unit. Lempaute and Wasessa share the Leadership responsibilities, Lempaute running to help one of the young bulls get back to his feet having slipped in mud and Wasessa besotted with little Emsaya, who is her favourite calf, having taken the place of Tassia. All the big females are extremely fond of little Panda, comforting her with loving trunk caresses at every opportunity.