Keepers' Diaries, July 2000

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Voi Reintegration Unit

The Big Boys have been present and up at the Stockades almost every day for the entire month of July, often taking Uaso and Lewa off with them, leaving Malaika with the babies. Malaika spends a lot of time with the eight small calves (ex Nairobi Nursery) who are still milk dependent and with their Keepers. This group is led by Natumi who is oldest. In the Stockades at night are Malaika (mainly so that she has some peace from the Bulls since she is pregnant), Emily with Aitong, Mweiga and Loisaba whilst Natumi’s group are in the new Stockades at a higher level. The babies still have a Keeper in with them at night to handle the night feed.

The Big Boys have been present and up at the Stockades almost every day for the entire month of July, often taking Uaso and Lewa off with them, leaving Malaika with the babies. Malaika spends a lot of time with the eight small calves (ex Nairobi Nursery) who are still milk dependent and with their Keepers. This group is led by Natumi who is oldest. In the Stockades at night are Malaika (mainly so that she has some peace from the Bulls since she is pregnant), Emily with Aitong, Mweiga and Loisaba whilst Natumi’s group are in the new Stockades at a higher level. The babies still have a Keeper in with them at night to handle the night feed.

Most days, all the orphans leave the Stockades in the morning together, but Emily Aitong and Mweiga then leave the babies and head off to feeding areas of their choice, which this month seem to have been at the back of Mazinga Hill. They then join up with the babies at the mudbath, as do The Boys if they happen to be in the area. Imenti continues to be very attached to Emily but also spends time with Uaso and Lewa, but is not very fond of the Big Boys.

One interesting development is that Loisaba seems to now be attached to Malaika more than Emily and will probably be one of Malaika’s "Nannies" following the birth of her baby, expected either at the end of this year or during the first half of next. Ever since she had a punch-up with Emily’s special calf, Mweiga, soon after arrival, Emily has never been particularly fond of her. It is very heartening to see that Loisaba has now healed psychologically, and is a happy and playful little elephant and very comfortable with Malaika. She is also very attentive to the Baby group, undertaking the task of chasing away the odd waterbuck that happens to be scaring the babies on arrival at the mudbath.

The babies love the company of the older elephants. Malaika is extremely protective of them, and whenever they interact with a wild herd, she is always standing close by to guard and protect them. Salama and Laikipia seem to be the most outgoing, both having played with "calves of their size" amongst the wild herds during the month. Both these calves were orphaned old enough to remember their elephant family clearly, so this is not surprising. On one occasion little Nyiro (the smallest of the baby group) got stuck in the mudbath and began to panic in amongst the heaving mass of all the others. He cried, and instantly Malaika rumbled a reply that silenced and froze every other elephant in the wallow as she strode purposefully across and waded in through them all to gently pull Nyiro clear. This incident was witnessed by Jerry Ellis, who happened to be there at the time.

July 2000 day to day

01 Jul

Natumi’s group spend the morning with Emily’s group before Emily led her group to the Eastern side of the hill. Dika and Edo were at the Stockades for most of the day. Emily’s group joined the others at mudbath and they had a wonderful time together.
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