Keepers' Diaries, June 2001

Voi Reintegration Unit

The older orphans, who are now independent of the Keepers, and comfortable amongst the wild herds, feature prominently this month, interacting and keeping in touch with our dependent orphans. This includes Lissa and her calf, Lara, who are usually with other wild elephants. Edo continues to usually have Uaso and Lewa under his wing, often joined by Dika. However, occasionally Uaso and Lewa spend a little time with Emily and her adoptees, but obviously would rather travel with the Big Boys. Ndume has only made contact once this month in passing, obviously very pleased to remain with his chosen wild friends, who have been leading him astray, trespassing into community territory beyond the Park boundary, crossing the K.W.S. Elephant Grid near the Main Voi Entrance Gate. We therefore sought urgent permission to erect electrified "droppers" across the road to deter this practice , something that has now been done.

01 June 2001

All the orphans left as usual. Emily and her charges spent the morning with the smaller calves when Salama and Lolokwe spent time playing together. At the mudbath, all except Natumi went into the water. In the afternoon Emily was very motherly towards Tsavo, as usual, and Imenti browsed independently of the others. Edo, Uaso and Lewa came to the Stockades at 4.30 p.m.

02 June 2001

The morning was spent as usual, except that Nyiro kept coming up to the Keepers and wanting to suck a finger. As usual Mukwaju refused to go into the wallow. Afterwards at the Milk Tractor, Laikipia and Salama fought over the milk. In the afternoon Emily played with Imenti and then went around kicking the bushes for fun. In the evening Dika, Edo, Lewa and Uaso turned up at the Stockades.

03 June 2001

On the way out from the Stockades Edie put on a big show kicking the bushes and rushing about with her ears out. After mudbath Nyiro enjoyed climbing on the others when they rolled in the sand. Kinna pushed Mukwaju during the Milk session, each trying to get the milk first and Tsavo joined the youngsters for the first sitting, returning immediately to Emily. Back at the Stockades at 5.30 p.m. Imenti enjoyed a game with Uaso.

04 June 2001

This morning Salama and Laikipia joined Emilt's group. Edo, Lewa and Uaso joined the youngsters after the mudbath. Salama and Kinna played together in the afternoon and Emily indulged in her bush-bashing game whilst Imenti sharpened his tusks against a rock, testing his strength by trying to lift the rock. Meanwhile Aitong kept Tsavo and Mweiga close. In the evening Lissa, her calf Lara and a wild bull the size of Uaso joined Lewa, Edo, Uaso and Dika at the Stockades for some Copra.

05 June 2001

All the orphans spent the morning together. Natumi's group enjoyed a series of different games. At l0.30 a.m. Imenti left the others and headed for the mudbath where the others joined him at 11.30 a.m. after which they took a sandbath. Then Kinna, Yatta, Mukwaju and Nyiro scrambled for their share of milk, whilst Edie and Mweiga showed restraint. After the mudbath Imenti chased off a buffalo. In the evening all the boys, including Ndume, were present and Catherine and her family arrived later for water at the Stockades.

06 June 2001

All the orphans left together in the morning, but then Emily's group separated. Nyiro and Mukwaju enjoyed a game before the mudbath. At mudbath Salama climbed on Lolokwe whilst Imenti lay down in the water sinking his head and trunk underneath. Laikipia and Icholta joined Emily's group for a while in the afternoon.

07 June 2001

Tsavo, Laikipia and Icholta had a great game in the mudbath today. Aitong kept on trying to lift Tsavo, but immediately he deliberately collapsed again. In the afternoon Loisaba and Imenti fed together about 50 metres away from the others.

08 June 2001

Edo, Uaso and Lewa joined the others this morning out in the bush. Imenti began to play with Edo and Natumi played with Edie. Ilingwezi yelled for her milk, impatient to wait, and Lolokwe begged for more. Edo and his two boys left the others after the mudbath, heading towards the Stockades.

09 June 2001

The orphans fed together during the morning and were joined by a wild herd, whom Aitong greeted warmly, although Mweiga cried in fear. Immediately Aitong reassured her. The wild elephants spent 25 minutes with Emily's group and when Emily played with a cow of her size, Tsavo charged around kicking the bushes. Back at the Stockades in the evening Dika, Edo, Uaso and Lewa were present.

10 June 2001

Laikipia and Salama played leaving the mudbath and Kinna and Yatta enjoyed a game waiting for the milk. In the afternoon Icholta played with Lolokwe and at the end of the day Emily and Imenti had a vigorous game sending up a dust cloud. At the Stockades Dika pushed Lissa off the Copra cake pile, but then the wild Matriarch, "Catherine" retaliated by chasing Dika away.

11 June 2001

On the way out this morning Edie and Natumi chased butterflies around the bushes. Salama and Laikipia joined Emily's group, remaining in amonst them until time for the mudbath. Mweiga and Edie played at Mudwallow and later in the sandbath, whilst Nyiro toppled the water drums. Kinna and Mukwaju had a wonderful time in the wallow today. Aitong helped Tsavo up when he had difficulty in rising.

12 June 2001

The orphans spent the morning together as usual. At mudbath Nyiro was up to his old tricks - toppling the drums of water and then mounting them, spilling a lot of the water. Imenti then joined in, rolling one drum away for about 20 metres. A wild group came to the mudbath, but Emily was very vigilant, taking care to keep her youngsters away from them, and only wallowing after the wild group had left. Salama and Laikipia followed the wild group when they left but only for a short distance.

13 June 2001

At 9.30 a.m. our orphans were joined out in the bush by Ndume, Lissa, her calf, Lara, and a wild bull the size of Aitong. The morning was filled with fun - Natumi playing with Lara and Imenti playing with the wild bull. In the afternoon at 4.30 p.m. Imenti charged 2 buffalo, backed up by Aitong and Emily who yelled at them, attracting the attention of all the orphans.

14 June 2001

Once out in the bush, Emily accompanied by Laikipia and Salama left the others to feed apart. Laikipia and Salama remained with the Big Group for about an hour before returning to the others. During mudbath Uaso and Imenti enjoyed a game and afterwards Mukwaju played with Tsavo. Later, after milk, Ilingwezi played with Salama. In the evening Dika, Ndume, Lissa and her calf plus a wild bull along with Lewa and Uaso were at the Stockades when the others returned. Uaso played with the wild bull whilst Imenti and Edo had a game that lasted 30 minutes.

15 June 2001

At 8 a.m., out in the bush, a wild group joined our orphans. Natumi's group and Mweiga remained aloof but Emily's group interacted with the wild elephants for 3 hours during which Emily enjoyed a wonderful game with a wild bull the size of Imenti. Meanwhile Imenti charged around the bushes kicking at the branches, whilst Aitong stood guard over Tsavo, not wanting him to go into the wild group.

16 June 2001

During the morning, Emily's group separated from the babies, to feed further afield accompanied today by Lewa. At 9.30 a.m. something in the bushes frightened the youngsters, who ran to their Keepers for protection. During mudbath Nyiro had a good time jumping on Lolokwe and Imenti and in the afternoon Emily enjoyed an exciting game with Imenti, after which she charged about kicking the bushes. Edie and Ilingwezi plucked up courage to charge an ostrich, but Kinna, Yatta and Mukwaju were scared and ran back to the Keepers. Edo turned up at the Stockades at 3 p.m.

17 June 2001

:- Both groups spent the morning together, during which time a very large herd of buffalo passed by, frightening the youngsters who ran to their Keepers. Emily and Imenti went to despatch the buffalo. During mudbath Laikipia and Salama had their usual shoving bout, whilst Nyiro watched, rubbing his bum on the bank. An Eland approached the mudbath which Emily chased off, backed up excitedly by all the youngsters. Back at the Stockades Edo, Dika, Lewa and Uaso turned up at 5 p.m.

18 June 2001

This morning when the orphans left the Stockades, they were accompanied by all the Boys who then parted to go elsewhere. Imenti went with them, playing with Uaso as they went, but returned later. The orphans had a wonderful mudbath. During the morning a new elephant was rescued from the Aruba Dam where she had been stuck in the mud and seriously mauled by the lions. She was brought in by the visiting Dutch Vets from Boa who thought she was a male. They treated her wounds, which were very bad. When the orphans returned, Emily's group crowded around the enclosure housing the new elephant, and Lissa's group as well as all The Boys were also present.

19 June 2001

Emily and Aitong were reluctant to leave the new elephant this morning, who is still in a bad way. As usual, out in the bush, Salama challenged Laikipia, but Natumi separated the two. After the mudbath Emily's group left the youngsters to go further afield. Back at the Stockades, Emily and Aitong were very "curious" about the new elephant and would have liked to be with her. Lewa, Uaso, Dika, Edo, Lissa and her calf and a wild bull friend of Lissa's were also present in the evening.

20 June 2001

The orphans went out into the bush as usual. At 10.30 a.m. a huge bull joined Emily's group, frightening Mweiga who screamed, but was thencomforted and reassured by Emily. When Mweiga cried, the others became alarmed. The weather was chilly so there was no mudbath today. Lissa, Lara and a wild calf appeared at 4.30 p.m. whilst Lewa, Uaso and Edo came to the Stockades a little later.

21 June 2001

A warthog appeared at the mudbath today, which Emily and Aitong chased off, reinforced in the background by Laikipia, Salama and Nyiro. In the afternoon Emily's group was joined by Lissa, her calf, Lara, and a wild bull.

22 June 2001

The morning was spent as usual but Dika and a wild bull joined the orphans at their mudbath and spent part of the afternoon with them. Imenti played with this wild bull. Meanwhile another new female elephant calf of about 7 - 8 months was rescued from a deep pit on the Mombasa pipeline near Maungu. She was brought to us and we put her in the top Stockade so that she could be with Natumi's group of youngsters. When the orphans returned, they were all very excited to see the newcomer. According to custom, she is named "Maungu".

23 June 2001

During the morning out in the bush Laikipia and Salama had their usual bout of wrestling and Emily chased a warthog, reinforced in the chase by Edie who became very excited. In the afternoon Lissa's group joined the babies and Natumi enjoyed playing with Lissa's wild born calf, Lara. When the orphans began to head for the Stockades in the evening, Lissa's group remained behind in the bush. Meanwhile, back at the Stockades, another new elephant was brought in, which had been abandoned at Satao Camp. That afternoon Dr. Dieter Rottcher flew in from Nairobi to look at our two invalids. He anaesthetised the Aruba lion victim, and finding that her wounds would prove to be fatal, with one leg joint totally destroyed and her genitals mutilated, she was euthenased at 3 p.m. whilst unconscious under anaesthesia. He then and administerd an injectable antibiotic to the Sato calf because she was suffering from advanced pneumonia, but she died during the night at 3 a.m. the next morning. He then decided that the third calf from Maungu should remain in Tsavo with the others rather than be brought back to the Nairobi Nursery.

24 June 2001

During the morning, Natumi's group had their usual "ritual" games. Edo, Uaso and Lewa turned up at the mudbath with Edo being greeted very warmly by Aitong. They spent the afternoon with our orphans but left at 3 p.m. heading towards the Stockades. Kinna, Yatta, Mukwaju and Edie, who share the Stockade with "Maungu" are very friendly towards her. Lissa's group, with Edo, Dika, Lewa and Uaso in tow, arrived at the Stockades at 5 p.m.

25 June 2001

Emily's group left the youngsters during the morning. An impala frightened the youngsters sending them rushing back to their Keepers. Edo and Lewa came to drink at the Stockades at l0 a.m. then left. After mudbath Salama and Laikipia had their usual tussle and in the afternoon at 2 p.m. a herd of wild elephants passed by in amongst whom was Ndume who came over to say "hi"!

26 June 2001

When the orphans left the Stockades they were accompanied by Edo, Lewa, Uaso and Ndume, but Ndume soon left, followed a little later by the other boys and Lissa's family. Meanwhile Lolokwe, Salama and Nyiro played charging games, trumpeting. At the mudbath, Aitong took charge of Tsavo. Edo Lewa and Uaso turned up at the Stockades after 4.30 p.m.

27 June 2001

Emily's group left Natumi's at the Spring Gate. Soon afterwards the youngsters ran into 4 buffaloes. Natumi and Edie attempted a charge, but were not brave enough to get close, instead kicking nearby bushes "as if to portray how they can fight." After the mudbath, at the noon Milk time, Nyiro pushed Tsavo away who capitulated and withdrew. During the afternoon Emily set about the bushes again, and in the evening, Edo, Dika, Lewa, Uaso and Lissa's group were present at the Stockades.

28 June 2001

The orphans spent the morning together out in the bush today. Laikipia, Salama, Icholta and Nyiro joined Emily in the mudbath, Icholta rolling right over, whilst Natumi refused to go in. Edo, Lewa and Uaso were at the Stockades in the evening.

29 June 2001

The new elephant, "Maungu", for the first time was taken out of the Stockade accompanied by Nyiro, Kinna, Mukwaju and Yatta and taken within the Compound fence, just in case she tried to run away. Kinna kept pushing Maungu, but the Keepers intervened. Maungu seemed happy and settled, eager to come for a bottle of milk when offered. The other orphans left together to their usual feeding grounds and enjoyed a wonderful mudbath. At 2.30 p.m. something frightened Natumi's group, causing them to run back to the Keepers whilst Emily indulged in her bush-bashing game. Edo, Lewa Uaso and Dika came to the Stockades at 4.30 p.m.

30 June 2001

Maungu spent the day with Kinna, Yatta, Mukwaju and Nyiro within the compound like yesterday. Nyiro kept on trying to mount Maungu, but the Keepers kept him off. Maungu took milk well with no difficulty. The other orphans spent the morning as usual, but happened upon 3 buffalo which Emily and Imenti dealt with. This incident excited all the others who rushed about charging the bushes. Edo with Lewa and Uaso turned up at the Stockades at 3 p.m.