Keepers' Diaries, July 2004

Voi Reintegration Unit

the month of July has been largely uneventful for the Voi Orphans, who have had fun playing with each other “in friendship groups”. Obvious friendships are very close between Sosian and Solango, Solango and Mpala; Mukwaju and Nyiro; Icholta and Edie and Laikipia and Natumi. However, Laikipia has fallen out of favour with his peers on several occasions, once at the mudbath when Tsavo, Lolokwe and Salama joined forces to expel him from the pond (obviously settling a score) and also when he refused to share the pile of Copra with the others, and Edie, Salama and Loisaba made a joint assault on him to force him into being less selfish.

01 July 2004

Emily’s group took a long rest under a tree after a wonderful noon mudbath. At 4.30 p.m. Tsavo, Lolokwe and Salama joined forces to expel Laikipia from the others, but Laikipia joined the group again once the other young bulls were occupied elsewhere.

02 July 2004

Sosian and Solango teamed up to enjoy the mudbath together. They spent the rest of the day close together, sometimes playing by testing their strength in competition.

03 July 2004

Tsavo was pushed down by Salama during a strength-testing bout. Tsavo bellowed loudly, and Emily immediately charged to the rescue, sending Salama fleeing in a hurry.

04 July 2004

During the noon mudbath, Mweiga left her bottles of milk to take on Solango who had attempted to snatch them. The Keepers intervened to keep the peace, and Solango wandered off.

05 July 2004

It was a cool evening. Loisaba drew water into her trunk and sprayed it onto Ilingwezi, forcing her to run off.

06 July 2004

The orphans chased off 2 bushbucks who were in amongst a troupe of baboons. Morani ran back for Emily’s protection when the big male produced a barking sound

07 July 2004

Edie and Mukwaju had a disagreement over a fallen log which both wanted to use as a scratching post. Mpala took advantage of the argument and enjoyed using it to scratch himself.

08 July 2004

The orphans were feeding at the foot of Mzinga Hill when a hyrax dislodged a rock which rolled towards Emily, frightening her. She ran off yelling, which terrified all the others who did likewise.

09 July 2004

After the mudbath, Aitong took Sally, Irima and Ndara off, leaving the other orphans. They met up with the main group when they were on their way back to the Stockades.

10 July 2004

After an afternoon rest, the orphans teamed up in friendship groups and initiated a pushing game together. Thoma took Solango whilst Mukwaju chose Lolokwe.

11 July 2004

At 6.30 a.m. Nyiro and Tsavo enjoyed a pushing game, Tsavo lying down to take on Nyiro. Further on Mpala, Seraa, Solango and Mweya chased off 2 dikdiks, and the chase turned into a joint game, with all the orphans trumpeting and rushing hither and thither.

12 July 2004

At 12.15 p.m. Loisaba, Solango, and Mpala lagged behind when the other elephants left the mudbath. They returned to the mudhole on their own and had a wonderful time, rejoining the others later.

13 July 2004

Thoma and Irima enjoyed a joint dustbath having been in the mud, rolling around together in the loose soil.

14 July 2004

At ll.57 a.m. Thoma enjoyed scratching her genitals on the buttocks of one of the others.

15 July 2004

Ilingwezi and Lolokwe enjoyed testing their strength in competition with one another. Meanwhile an oxpecker sat on Solango and began taking off ticks. It kept on flying back whenever Solango managed to dislodge it.

16 July 2004

Emily and Solango enjoyed a pushing game at 12.03 p.m. which ended when Emily nipped Salama’s tail, sending him off bellowing

17 July 2004

At 11.29 a.m. Edie, Mpala and Irima lined up behind Solango, who was scratching his foreleg on a fallen tree trunk. They took turns to do the same, each in turn.

18 July 2004

Today, Emily took Ndara away from all the others to feed. They joined the others on the way to the noon mudbath.

19 July 2004

It was noticed that Burra had a runny eye today, so we called the Trust’s Mobile Veterinary Unit so that the Vet could bring the medication.

20 July 2004

All the orphans were very playful today, enjoying games in friendship groups. Icholta took Edie, Laikipia took Natumi and Mukwaju took Nyiro.

21 July 2004

Natumi and Mvita initiated a joint game of hide and seek, which deteriorated into a tough fight at l0 a.m. when Natumi accidentally kicked Mvita in the stomach. Aitong went in to separate them.

22 July 2004

At 12.10 a.m. Solango instructed little Morani in some soft fighting techniques. Solango gently grabbed Morani’s trunk and applied a little pressure to push him back. Morani gathered strength to push Solango back, but the lesson was disrupted by Mpala who came in to disperse the two combatants. Thoma discovered a hare resting in some shrubbery, so she gave chase, joined by Mweya and Irima.

23 July 2004

Loisaba gently dislodged Seraa who was scratching her hind leg on a tree trunk. Loisaba then enjoyed doing the same.

24 July 2004

Icholta initiated a pushing game with Mvita, who has one tusk longer than the other. Icholta ran off when the one long tusk threatened to prick her, and spent the rest of the day avoiding Mvita, who wanted to resume the play.

25 July 2004

The day was cold with misty showers, so the orphans kept warm by playing games. Laikipia took on Sosian, Mukwaju challenged Lolokwe and Solango took on Morani. A fun time was had by all.

26 July 2004

The orphans mudwallowed happily and extensively today, as if competing as to who would have the best shimmer of the day. The fun ended when Ndara had some mud spilled into her eye. She bellowed, and all vacated the pond.

27 July 2004

Burra’s eye is much improved, but the Keepers continued with the medication to avoid a re-occurrence of the infection.

28 July 2004

Edie, Salama, Tsavo and Loisaba joined forces to take on Laikipia who wanted to monopolize a pile of Copra cake in the Stockade during the evening. Initially Laikipia pushed away all the other orphans, but eventually gave in, and shared the pile.

29 July 2004

Mweya mischievously quietly hid behind a thick bush and when all the other orphans approached, rushed out to scare them. The younger orphans rushed back to the Keepers screaming, whilst Mweya stood by looking very pleased with herself. The other orphans returned when they realised that the threat was just Mweya playing a trick on them! At 1.49 p.m. the orphans joined a wild group of about seven elephants. Laikipia and Salama joined forces to take on a wild bull slightly older than them, but when they managed to push the young bull down, the wild Matriarch became aggressive and chased our boys off.